The Manchester Board of School unanimously supported a proposal by Manchester-based manufacturer Velcro to form a partnership that could lead to internships and jobs for the city’s students. “Velcro University” includes competency-based phases as part of a larger curriculum, which includes business fundamentals, professional and technical skills, and community service.
Committee members heard a presentation on “Velcro University,” which organizers and school administrators are hopeful to have up and running at Manchester High School West in time for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. According to David Chambers, director of quality for Velcro Companies, the program is designed to “equip students with the practical business and technical skills” needed to succeed in today’s world.
“This is a very exciting opportunity to bring in businesses from outside to help our students become college and career ready,” said Manchester High School West Principal Rick Dichard.
According to Chambers, Velcro has developed a curriculum that addresses both “soft skills and technical skills.”
Dichard said specific curriculum items will be brought in front of the Curriculum and Instruction Committee for approval in August.
“Each phase has a competency or multiple competencies within the phase,” said Dichard.
“Not all of them will be granted an internship. Those that complete those first four phases will receive credit. Those that advance to the internship will have opportunities for additional credit. This is one of those programs where there are no losers.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” said Committeeman John Avard of Ward 10. “I’m very excited to see this go forward.”
“I absolutely love this initiative,” said Committeeman Jimmy Lehoux of Ward 8.
When asked about possible expansion of the program, Chambers said Velcro plans to start with the pilot program at West, then look at expanding to other high schools in the area, and in Manchester specifically.
“This, I hope, will be duplicated by other companies and corporations within our community,” said Dichard. “It’s a no brainer.”
Learn more about competency education in Manchester and other New Hampshire districts and how other schools are partnering with local businesses to offer more opportunities for students:
- Work Study Practices help prepare students for the future
- Students are thriving in this NH school thanks to a new approach
- Pre-engineering classes and school-business partnerships take off in NH as part of STEM initiative
- Education, Business Leaders: Education is the key to addressing the state’s labor shortages
- Manchester schools highlight innovations in learning to national commission of state legislators
- More on Competency-Based Education