Industry and CTE Centers Partnerships Driving Innovation in NH

Industry and CTE Centers Partnerships Driving Innovation in NH

With employers across a variety of industries in the Granite State struggling to meet their hiring needs, Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers have become an increasingly important resource.

The capacity of CTE centers to develop the skilled workforce of tomorrow, however, has been significantly enhanced in the past two years through an innovative collaboration with the Sector Partnerships Initiative (SPI). An industry-driven statewide initiative to help businesses in targeted industries address workforce needs while helping workers prepare for—and advance in—their careers, SPI is initially focused on four industries: manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare, and information technology.

According to Phil Przybyszewski, Workforce Solutions Project Director, NH Sector Partnerships Initiative, each of the selected industry sectors are defined by several distinct characteristics and challenges:

• 67,800 employees across 1,950 businesses (average = 35 employees)
• Relatively flat projected growth
• High churn rate caused by retirements; 30+% over age 55
• Strong hourly wage
• Top needs: CNC machinists, Machinery Mechanics, First Line Supervisors

Health Care
• 88,000 employees spread over 2,800 establishments (average = 31 employees)
• Growth projections 10% to 15% over the next five years
• Good wage rates at the top but quickly drop
• Top needs: Registered Nurses, LNA, MA

• 61,000 employees
• Grow rates approaching 12% over the next five years
• High hourly wage in the range of $37.00
• Top needs: Developers, Systems Analysts, User-Support Specialists

• 68,000 employees spread across 4,500 establishments (average = 15 employees)
• 70% of jobs are concentrated in food services and drinking establishments
• Younger workforce with 36% below age 25
• High turnover caused by lower wages and seasonal nature of employment
• Top needs: Better defined career pathways and training

“The SPI model is effective because it is problem rather than program oriented,” said Przybyszewski. “We are working with numerous partners to address real industry needs—no one needs to be working independently on their challenges.”

Nashua Technology Center
One of the ways in which SPI works is through dynamic collaborations either with industry leaders and/or CTE centers with scalable capacities. Led by Co-Director Marianne Dustin, Nashua Technology Center (NTC) represented a unique opportunity for SPI, which has helped to “rejuvenate” its Manufacturing program.

“It was hurting,” said Przybyszewski. “Enrollment was down, but there was enthusiasm around what was possible. There was potential.”

Noting SPI can assist CTE programs in several ways—funding or an infusion of new advisory board members, which took place in the NTC’s case represent two examples—he said its purpose is to better leverage existing capacities.

“This is a great example of tapping into SPI assets to make a difference,” he added. “Nashua had a great lab and great equipment—we adopted them as one of our initiatives within our manufacturing initiative.”

As for how SPI impacted NTC, Dustin noted their involvement helped create a meaningful pathway from Algebra into a career in Manufacturing.

“We are introducing AMPED, an Algebra curriculum that enables students to learn core concepts in Algebra through the lens of manufacturing processes, entrepreneurship and design,” she said.

In order to access the year-long curriculum, NTC sent an algebra instructor to a week-long conference in Colorado for training in implementation at the school. With the program launching this fall at full capacity with 36 students, Dustin said their relationship with SPI has helped them place an assortment of manufacturing and machining professionals as instructors.

“It’s a creative partnership that brings these professionals directly into the classroom,” she said. “Some programs have an Algebra and a Manufacturing instructor, but we can make this happen right now with just one instructor, which gives us some flexibility from a financial perspective. It is also a more effective way to teach students.”

As an example of the curriculum, she said it goes beyond the “Xs and Ys” generally associated with Algebra.

“Students will be presented with real-world problems where they will have the opportunity for hands-on learning,” she said. “Through the process of solving problems with real applications, the students will then back into the conceptual part of Algebra…Manufacturers are not working with X and Y. This program is a much more effective way to teach students skills and concepts at the same time.”

Looking ahead for SPI
According to Michael Power of the Office of Workforce Opportunity, NH Department of Business & Economic Affairs, SPI represents “a new way of doing business with the state’s employers.”

“Working with New Hampshire’s diverse industries by economic sectors is a more efficient and effective way of meeting the challenge of creating pipelines of employment opportunities for current and future workforce needs,” he said. “By involving employers in areas such as curriculum, career pathways and appropriate training, we can sustain and grow our workforce, our companies and our economy.”

Citing the partnership with NTC as one of several related projects supported by SPI, Przybyszewski said they are also beginning to look at a 5th sector in industry.

“We are in the exploratory stage of looking at Infrastructure,” he said. “This includes Construction, Broadband and Energy. We are completing our mapping of the assets associated with these sub sectors and will move to workforce planning next to identify key stakeholders to drive the initiative.”

To learn more about SPI, visit

Teachers and Administrators Gather for the first ever NH CTE Conference

Teachers and Administrators Gather for the first ever NH CTE Conference

Close to 150 teachers, administrators and other professionals gathered at Rundlett Middle School in Concord for the first ever NH CTE Conference.  Over the course of two days, participants attended workshops featuring topics such as PACE, postsecondary pathways, Depth of Knowledge and OSHA requirements.  Justin Wells of Envision Learning Partners, Frank Edleblut, the NH Commissioner of Education, Paul Leather, the NH Deputy Commissioner of Education, Eric Feldborg, the State Director of Career & Technical Education, Steve Rothenberg, President of NH Career & Technical Administrators, and others took part in the keynote addresses.  Everyone who attended is already looking forward to next year!

Mapping out a New Course for CTE

Mapping out a New Course for CTE

Earlier this year, the 27 Directors and Administrators of NH’s Career and Technical Centers (NHCTA) created a new position—executive director—for the NH Career and Technical Educators association (NHCTE).

Lasting several months, the search resulted in the hire of Christine Carr, a NH native who has helped more than 500 small technology businesses launch and grow through her work at the Canadian Consulate in Boston. She is also the Co-Founder of the Canadian Technology Accelerator in Boston, an incubator program that helps Canadian startups launch in the United States

“I am very passionate about growing new organizations and launching businesses,” she said. “I think a big reason behind my enthusiasm for this line of work was watching my parents establish and build a successful NH-based manufacturing business.”

Describing both her father and brother as “gifted machinists,” she said her deep respect and passion for technical expertise and craftsmanship is in her DNA.

“I think my background—both professionally and personally—helps provide me with some important initial insight into the task at hand. In regards to her role, she said her first order of business is to help launch, establish and grow NHCTE.

“NHCTE is a large career and technical community that consists of more than 10,000 students, parents and families as well as hundreds of teachers, employers and other supporters,” she said. “The potential behind this community is extensive.”

Mapping it out
In mapping out the CTE landscape around the state, Carr laid out a 4-step action plan. She said her first move is to meet with the directors at each of the state’s 27 CTE centers within the next 90 days.

“I want to meet with the directors in their own environments and learn about their networks, existing partnerships and their unique cultures,” she said.

She said her objective in meeting with individual directors is to get a sense not just for the commonalities that bind each center together, but what differentiates one from the other.

“I want to get past the quantifiable data—‘x’ number of students or programs—and get to the qualifying factors, the things that will capture the imaginations of those inside and outside the CTE community,” she said.

According to Carr, step two and three of her plan consists of highlighting what is unique about CTE and then demonstrating what has already been accomplished.

“CTE has been delivering for decades – it is proven and validated, happening right now,” she said.  “People need to understand that and feel proud and excited about it…All stakeholders need to be engaged.””

Carr said her fourth step will build on—and take place at the same time as—the previous three steps.

“I call it ‘market momentum,’ which means we have the chance to capture this opportunity at this point in time right here in this moment,” she said. “Everything is aligned right now and that is a very rare occurrence for any organization—it is what attracted me to this position. My role is to catalyze each area of potential growth and encourage the community to take over. I believe this can happen here in NH with CTE.”

To contact Carr, email

Congress Tells FFA:  Our Country Needs More People Like You

Congress Tells FFA: Our Country Needs More People Like You

This week Agriculture Committee Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, addressed more than 100 state FFA officers, urging them to advocate on behalf of agriculture and take advantage of the plentiful jobs within agriculture.

“Our country needs more people like you, who know where their food and fiber come from, the hard work it takes to get it from the farm to the store, and the value of the rural way of life,” Chairman Roberts said. “Your voice is important and deserves to be heard – not only in a few years after you finish college, but right now.   Read More