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National Governors Association Eyes NH’s Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Analysts participate in site visits in Concord, Laconia as part of the org’s Center for Best Practices initiative.

Representatives of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices were in New Hampshire on May 1, 2018, for a site visit to familiarize themselves with some of the opportunities students in the Capital and Lakes Regions have with work-based learning programs. Their visit and the work by officials are part of a multi-year effort aimed at assisting high school students and adult job seekers to attain careers in STEM-intensive industries (science, technology, engineering, and math) such as advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology, energy, and other business sectors. New Hampshire is one of six states participating in the program.

The second phase of the Center for Best Practices initiative is for the states to scale and market their work-based learning opportunities to the general public.

J. Mike Bartlett and John Guerriero, both policy analysts with the Economic Opportunity Division of the NGA, met with NH DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut, Deputy Commissioner Christine Brennan, and others at NHTI, Concord’s Community College, on Tuesday to learn about the state’s efforts, so far, and collaborate on reporting information required in the second phase.

Steve Rothenberg, an assistant principal at Concord High School and the director of the Concord Regional Technical Center, also participated in the meeting and later in the day, gave officials a tour of the CRTC so they could learn about the extensive programming at the center – one of the largest in the Granite State, serving students from nine high schools.

Students held a roundtable with officials to talk about their future plans and how work-based initiatives already in place were helping them make career and college decisions in teacher prep, nursing, automotive, graphic arts, construction and trades, and other sectors.

“The program allows for student input and guidance from professionals in the field of study that helped them build their own career pathways,” Brennan said. “CRTC gave students the opportunity to access resources and experiences that might not be afforded to them in a different school setting. Listening to the students enthusiastically share their journey toward a bright future was impressive.”

Later in the day, the group visited Lakes Region Community College in Laconia to examine all the offerings inside the Community College System of New Hampshire including an automotive program which connects the NH Auto Dealers Association and its partners with students, according to Larissa Baia, the interim president of the school.

“Two out of LRCC’s three automotive programs follow a cooperative (coop) education model,” she noted. “Enrolled students are engaged in in-classroom activities for 12 weeks followed by 12 weeks of applied learning in a paid-internship-setting. Those internships are possible due to the close partnerships LRCC has established with auto dealers in the state and throughout New England.”

The work-based learning model used at the community college ensures that students attain the skills they need to succeed as technicians and provides dealerships a pipeline of skilled workers, Baia added.

After the visits, Bartlett commended the state for its work on the initiative and the offerings schools were presenting to students.

“NGA has been thrilled to work with New Hampshire,” Bartlett noted after the visits, “and to support the state’s cutting-edge efforts to connect youth to in-demand career pathways.”

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