Whelen Engineering and CTE Leaders Working Together

Whelen Engineering and CTE Leaders Working Together

Among several related objectives, one of the most important for the NH Association of Career and Technical Administrators (NHCTA) is to form meaningful partnerships with industry. One such partnership is with the Whelen Engineering Company, Inc, which will host a meeting on March 9 at its manufacturing facility in Charlestown, NH with CTE directors and principals from schools across the state.

According to Whelen Engineering’s Jerry Maslan, who noted their company’s leadership and management will also be present, the purpose of the meeting is three-fold.

“We can discuss what is currently working, what can be improved on, and how we can adjust the curriculum to better meet the needs of manufacturing,” he said.

According to Maslan, the need to continue to leverage—and build upon—current relationships with CTE centers, each of which is charged to prepare high school students for careers—has never been greater.

“As the industry becomes automated, there doesn’t seem to be enough people or students coming up prepared or willing to run the machines,” he said.

The question as to how they increase the technical pool of available students is as much practical as it is rhetorical, which Maslan attributes to several possible causes.

“It may be a lack of understanding of the current manufacturing world,” he explained. “It could be a stereotype where manufacturing facilities are seen as ‘old dirty machine shops,’ which is not true at all.”

He said what is true is that modern day manufacturing facilities are “state of the art and clean,” which he noted Whelen Engineering makes clear during periodic tours they host for students, teachers and administrators.

“A lot of the feedback we get from students is that this place is not what they thought it would be,” he said.

Headquartered in Chester, CT, but employing 1,000+ in Charelestown, Whelen Engineering expects the future in manufacturing to be as bright, if not brighter, than the present. Given this bright future, Maslan said it is critical they continue to work with CTE centers, administrators and various related agencies.

“It’s important to have these relationships so students, teachers and administrators can get a true understanding of current manufacturing needs,” he said. “We need to focus on the STEM education systems in schools so we can better prepare students for what lies ahead and get them excited for the opportunities that are there for them today and tomorrow.”

As for the agenda at this meeting, Maslan said they plan to cover a variety of topics that may be broken down into different areas:

From a general career pathways standpoint

  • What does Whelen Engineering value in staff?
  • What does Whelen Engineering value in skills including degrees and certificates?
  • What background does Whelen Engineering seek for employees?
  • How does Whelen Engineering support employees going on with their education while
  • employed? What are current employees doing?
  • What career tracks are available at Whelen Engineering? For example, from machine
  • operator to programmer to product engineer? In addition, what kind of support careers
  • and jobs are available (accounting, culinary…)?

From an employment standpoint?

  • Who makes it at Whelen Engineering? Who does not?
  • How does someone gain employment there? What is the process?
  • How does the outside workforce align to Whelen Engineering’s needs?
  • How do you recruit? What works? What does not?
  • What does the future look like with regard to growth and possible needs?
  • How does hiring from within work? What are career tracks at Whelen Engineering?

Math and Science at Whelen Engineering

  • What examples of skills are worth hearing?
  • What particular math and science skills are of interest? What needs emphasis?

General K-12 Education

  • How can we better prepare students?
  • What are we missing?
  • What are we doing well? What is getting better?
  • What message does Whelen Engineering want to send to public schools including school counselors? admin? teachers? parents? Kids? CTE?
  • Cultural: Where do parents fit in to understanding advanced manufacturing?

How does Whelen Engineering educate their incoming and current workforce?

  • Example: Knowledge of math – trig vs. calculus; reading, writing
  • Retraining and refocusing?
  • What does it look like? What does a training day like?
  • Who is eligible – what skills are tested beforehand?

According to Maslan, various department managers will also be present at the meeting, which underscores Whelen Engineering’s belief in its fundamental importance.

“Having the people who run these departments at the meeting is very important,” he said. “They know current needs and can work with the CTE directors and principals to adapt their education systems to meet industry needs…It’s about getting the right people in the right room at the right time…we are all committed.”

To learn more about Whelen Engineering, visit www.whelen.com.

Nashua CTE to Pilot New Drone Course

Nashua CTE to Pilot New Drone Course

As part of a new Girls in STEAM program, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), Nashua students will be learning to fly drones from SI Drones in Merrimack.  Along with learning about drones, the course will focus on computational thinking and women in technology.  Photography eacher Erin Knoetig will be getting her FFA Part 107 Remote Pilot license this spring and summer.  The hope is to expand the program to include drone photography where students would also build and fly the drones.  According to Rick Spitz, co-owner of SI Drones, there are a number of job opportunities including real estate and park photography.  Read more in a Nashua Telegraph article.

Concord High School Automotive Technology Teacher Wins National Award

Concord High School Automotive Technology Teacher Wins National Award

Concord Regional Technical Center Automotive Technology teacher Scott Mayotte has been recognized as one of the top skilled trades teachers in the country in the annual Harbor Freight Tools for Schools national competition. His $30,000 prize is a split award, with $10,000 going to Mr. Mayotte and $20,000 going to his automotive program at the CRTC.

The purpose of the prize is to recognize teaching excellence in the skilled trades that enables students to “learn deeply and be career-ready,” Harbor Freight Tools said in a statement announcing the $500,000 national competition. “We define an ‘excellent’ program as one led by a teacher who clearly loves the subject matter and … whose curriculum is matched to a relevant career pathway and future work choices.”

Mr. Mayotte, who lives in Lebanon, ME, was one of ten finalists from across the country representing skilled trades such as construction, automotive, architecture, manufacturing and marine systems technology. There were three $100,000 first-place winners announced late last year and seven second-place winners who were awarded $30,000, with awards being split between the teachers and the programs they teach.

“We are all very proud of Mr. Mayotte, and very happy with the recognition this award brings to the career pathway work we do here at the CRTC,” CRTC Director Steve Rothenberg said. “This award not only validates the investment Mr. Mayotte makes in his students and his program but also helps to create an awareness of the way high school career and technical education programs statewide promote college and career readiness.”

After nearly two decades as an automotive technician for Volkswagen, Mr. Mayotte returned to the classroom to teach Automotive Technology at the CRTC  in 2011. His students graduate from a nationally certified program with valuable industry credentials and can earn college credit for their coursework. By cultivating relationships with 14 New Hampshire auto dealerships, Mr. Mayotte is able to both keep his program current with industry technology and place all his senior year students into internship positions where they are able to refine their skills and develop the beginnings of a professional network.

This fall, Mayotte established the “All Girls Garage” at Concord High School to introduce more young women to the auto industry, and he works with each of his students to develop a workable college and career plan so that they leave high school knowing both where they want to go and just how to get there.

“My goal is to provide each student with the tools and support he or she needs to leave high school with a workable plan for future success,” Mr. Mayotte said.

Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association to Host First All-Day Workshop

Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association to Host First All-Day Workshop

On Friday, April 13, the Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association (VTNHCDA)will host its first ever all-day workshop at Keen State College.

According to Doug Cullen, past president of the association, the gathering will be “a small event, but with great speakers,” each of whom will initiate conversations around Transition Planning for students and young adults in Vermont and New Hampshire.”

“Participants will hear from both local and national speakers about how others are looking at the career development frameworks and putting them into operational practices,” he said.

He said the workshop will also provide educators from New Hampshire an opportunity to learn more about what is happening just west of the state’s border.

“How much do N.H. practitioners know about what Vermont is doing?” he rhetorically noted. “Do New Hampshire practitioners even know about Vermont’s Act 77 and other related legislation that put career pathways into a very positive light? It will be especially good for us in New Hampshire to hear from and work with people from another state, which has been a fundamental aspect of the Vermont/New Hampshire Career Development Association since its inception in 2016.”

At the workshop, scheduled speakers will include:

  • Julie Heinz, Senior Advisor at Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative at Civic Nation, will speak about her work and Transitions
  • James Westhoff, NCDA Credentialing
  • Ed Colozzi, Career Development and Counseling Services & President of the the Massachusetts CDA – Transitions
  • Drew McDowell, Director of Adult Education/Assistant Director at Windham Regional Career Center – Workforce technologies and expanding the post-Secondary landscape

“The focus of the event with invites sent out throughout New Hampshire and Vermont is to get educators with a stake in developing career development competencies in their school and district engaged in best-practice conversations,” said Cullen. “It all complements the contemporary effort of developing robust career pathways across the region and across the ‘great divide,’ which is high school graduation.”

Noting one of the other central themes of the workshop relates to asking and answering, “How much are we operating with educators ‘across-the-border’ in ways that are earnestly considered collaborative?” Cullen cited other important concepts.

“We also want participants to hear a bit from Washington and the Reach Higher initiative, as it relates to understanding metrics being used throughout the U.S. that measure college ‘engagement’ and ‘retention’ rates,’” he said. “These are tactical measures that can translate into big-picture economic development gains if the efforts behind the metrics have follow-through and support.”

To register for the workshop, which includes breakfast and lunch, click or to register, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSftW8V69tUPX4bj_CWKAcNwP2F41F8io4FkXur5bfD8EvAUog/viewform.

To learn more about the VTNHCDA, visit https://vtnhcda.org.

New Hampshire Hospitality Month with the Fisher Cats

New Hampshire Hospitality Month with the Fisher Cats

Join students from all over the state for a night of learning, baseball and fun!  On Tuesday, April 17th at 4:00 pm, The New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association will host a Hospitality Industry Panel followed by a VIP behind-the-scenes stadium tour.  The 6:35 Fisher Cats game tops off the day.  Tickets are just $11.25 per person which includes a hot dog, a bag of chips and a 20-ounce beverage.  For more information or to register your school, contact Stephanie Fournier at sfournier@nhfishercats.com or (603) 606-4105.  Read more.