Senator Avard: State should look to NH’s robust CTE & apprenticeship programs to boost workforce development

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Senator Kevin Avard (District 12) underscored the importance of college and career readiness in an op-ed to the Concord Monitor:

[R]ecently, I had the opportunity to tour Nashua businesses with Gov. Chris Sununu to dive deeper into understanding the difficulties that New Hampshire small businesses face day to day, and what we can do to effectively bolster their future success.

Two common themes stood out at the end of the day. One, energy costs in New Hampshire are too high. Two, businesses need additional, well-educated, skilled workers to fill vacant positions…

We understand that workforce development does not mean every person must pursue a college degree, but instead look to our state’s cutting-edge career and technical education programs. And in many cases, nothing can replace the value of on-the-job training through successful apprenticeships in high-demand vocations.

As Granite Staters, we should be proud that we have some of the most successful public and private institutions of higher learning in the nation. However, we must develop opportunities for those who choose to further their education in a trade or technical school. Electrician, plumber, mechanic and machinist are trades that this country was built on, and there is still high demand for these workers.

In addition to having a trained workforce, we must also prioritize policies that encourage young families to move here. The Legislature took an important step this session to improve and expand early childhood education by supporting full-day kindergarten. This is a critical policy that will attract young families to our state for our competitive educational system. However, we must also promote policies that make New Hampshire an affordable place to live.

Over 30 New Hampshire high schools have CTE programs, offering courses from construction, welding, and auto repair to biotechnology, information technology, and child development. Learn more at nh-cte.org. Many of the state’s schools now offer Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs), which give students an opportunity to learn outside the classroom in a professional environment. Check out Pittsfield’s ELO program in this video, where students partnered with police officers, radio DJs, American Sign Language interpreters, and more for a semester-long project.

Source: My Turn: The pressing needs of small businesses | Concord Monitor