Re-Defining the Internship Model in Automotive Technology at Nashua Technology Center

Re-Defining the Internship Model in Automotive Technology at Nashua Technology Center

While we live in a digital age, there is no substitute for hands-on, work-based learning, which is why staff at Nashua Technology Center (NTC) are pushing to ramp up internships in its Automotive Technology program.

Citing approximately 400 job openings for automotive technicians in the state, NTC Director Amanda Bastoni said it is not enough, however, to offer just any kind of internship to students or industry partners.

“We used to send all of the students out on internship for a full semester, but that model wasn’t working,” she said. “It may have been successful at one time, but dealers started saying that kids weren’t showing up and it was really hard to manage. We knew we needed to make a change.”

This change consisted in reducing the time for internships to one month. She said students now go out Monday to Thursday and come back on Friday to discuss their respective experiences with the teacher.

“It has worked so well,” said Bastoni, who said a lot of preparation went into this programmatic change.

“Our teacher taught the students how to do job interviews, while I, as CTE Director, had all the kids do a survey,” she said.

This survey consists of questions that relate to the local dealership preferred by students as well as their objectives and commitment level to the internship itself.

“Not all students were allowed to participate,” she said.

Bastoni said she also personally interviews students now and provides feedback regarding their interview skills, all of which helped to determine where to place them.

“We made sure the kids who went into the internships really wanted to make this a career,” she added.

Students appreciate the internship model, too.

Senior Christian Belonga, who currently interns at MacMulkin Chevrolet in Nashua, said his internship has helped him realize what it would actually be like to work in the field.

“I like the placement because it gives me that real world experience and it is hands on,” he said. “I have quit my job at Market Basket and now want to work with cars in dealerships.”

Senior Jordan Smith just received a job offer from Tulley Buick GMC.

“I love working with the guys there — I feel absolutely prepared,” he said. I have been doing tires, exhaust, oil changes. Without this class, I wouldn’t know what I wanted to do after school.”

As for how it benefits industry partners, Bastoni said it not only provides dealerships with immediate help, it helps build a pipeline for future employment.

“It gives the dealers a chance to see if the kids are good fit,” she said. “It helps establish a nice relationship between dealers and students.”

According to Bastoni, the effort put into revamping their internship model within Automotive Technology reflects a statewide trend at all CTE centers.

“Internships are such a good idea,” she said. “Research tells us that kids that go into an internship are more likely to go into that industry. It is really good preparation.”

The only caveat is that students must recognize that these are places of business.

“We need to make sure when we send students out that we really support them,” she said. “I will continue to personally interview students before they go out until I really feel like a streamline process has been created.”

To learn more about NTC or Automotive Technology, visit

Industry Partnerships Help ‘Fuel’ Success for CTE Program

Industry Partnerships Help ‘Fuel’ Success for CTE Program

Recently, Aaron White and Sheamus Powers, students in Portsmouth High School Career Technical Center’s Automotive Technology program, placed 7th in the nation at the National Auto Tech Championship in New York City.

The achievement, according to Portsmouth Career Technical Education (CTE) Director Diane Canada, helps underscore not just the strength of the program, but its relevancy to – and partnership with – industry.

“We have been accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) since 2008,” she said.

This accreditation includes a close working partnership, one that is replicated at all CTE centers across the state.

“I work with all the high school and colleges,” said Jessica Dade, NATEF Assistant Executive Director and Career Coordinator. “I make sure there is a pipeline between the technicians and all the other students that are employed by the auto industry. I help create the pathway from high school and college directly into the industry.

This pathways, she said, leads to hundreds of different opportunities – from auto technician to marketing and accounting.

“It is a fast growing and high-tech industry,” she said. “It is a great career pathway for anyone.”

Such support from NATEF as well as from the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association (NHADA) is critical, according to David Lily, who teaches in Automotive Technology at Portsmouth High School.

“With support from the NHADA and the NH community college system, our students have everything they need to start a successful career,” he said.

In the case of White and Powers, this career has a boost from NHADA, which awarded them scholarships as a result of their success at the National Auto Tech Championship.

In the case of White, his scholarship will go toward his degree at the Toyota T-Ten Program at Lakes Region Community College. Powers’ scholarship will be applied toward covering the costs to take the Ford Asset Program at Manchester Community College.

They are both working at NHADA member stores.

“Sheamus is at Hampton Ford and Aaron at Toyota of Portsmouth,” said Dade, who said it is a huge honor for everyone involved in their respective success.

“They are rated within the top 14 auto students in the country,” she said. “It shows that hard work and determination can really pay off. It really humbles you when you see 18 year-olds work so very hard. It is very rewarding seeing it come full circle for them.”

Lilly agrees and said he hopes one takeaway from his students’ accomplishment is a deeper understanding as to what takes place in CTE in general and his program in specific.

“People who are not aware of what current CTE programs offer don’t realize what high level training students are receiving,” he said. “It’s not only from a technical aspect on the cars, but also using the repair software and the technical reading and writing involved.”

He said students are problem-solving every day using industry tools and resources in Automotive Technology at Portsmouth High School Career Technical Center.

“The thought that students are just learning to change oil and tires could not be further from the truth,” he said.

To learn more about Portsmouth High School Career Technical Center, visit

Biotechnology Program Receives National Recognition

Biotechnology Program Receives National Recognition

Advanced CTE recently recognized the top eight Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study with the Excellence in Action Award. These programs represent the best of CTE, with each providing clear pathways into college and careers, rigorous academic and technical coursework, strong industry partnerships, and effective work-based learning experiences that offer opportunities for career exploration and subject-matter mastery.

The Biotechnology program of study at Nashua High School North was launched in 2003 to provide learners with rigorous and integrated academic and technical coursework in the biotechnology field. Throughout the two-year program, learners master advanced laboratory techniques most in demand for medical and scientific careers, such as analyzing cell structures, DNA extraction, molecular cloning, chromatography, protein purification and data collection. Learners demonstrate an understanding of the skills they’ve learned by completing a capstone project their first year and a research project their second year. Through dual credit courses with Great Bay Community College, Biotechnology learners can earn up to eight college credits, creating a seamless transition to postsecondary education.

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Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Longtime St. Vincent de Paul board member and Exeter Rotarian Rachael Ela was named Citizen of the Year at the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year awards.

The annual ceremony, which honors businesses and community leaders, took place March 28 at the Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton.

Ela was named Citizen of Year for her numerous contributions over the years to the Exeter community, including her work organizing the annual Rotary Club’s “Stuff a Bus” food drive to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter and for running the club’s annual charity auction. As a past president of the Exeter Area Rotary Club, the group awarded a grant in partnership with Christ Church to provide water filtration systems to Cuba, she said.

Ela said she looked up to the former director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter, Cleo Castonguay, for his generosity and kindness he showed towards those in need during his 30-plus years at the organization before his death last spring at the age of 71. She said one of the first events she ever attended in Exeter after moving to town seven years ago was the Chamber’s Business of the Year Awards when Castonguay received the inaugural Citizen of the Year Award in 2012 and he was the primary reason why she decided to volunteer at the organization.

“Cleo was such an important part of my life and I strive to emulate him as best I can in everything I do, so to be recognized in the same way he was, it’s really beyond comprehension,” Ela said. “This is an incredible honor. Service is a reward in itself; you get so much more than you give. I hope people see the opportunities there are to give back and they ask more questions about how they can get involved serving the community.”

Also recognized was retiring Seacoast School of Technology Principal Margaret Callahan.

Callahan has worked as SST principal for the past 14 years and was honored with the Chairperson’s Award for her years of service at the technical center, which serves five Seacoast school districts beyond SAU 16. She said the enrollment at the school has increased “dramatically” since beginning her tenure and the school now offers 33 dual-enrollment programs, which allow students to earn college credits while taking SST classes.

SST was also recognized as a Business of the Year in the education category by the chamber.

“This was an incredible honor when I looked around the room; it was just so inspiring to be in the same company as everyone there who serve the community so well. A lot of them have been great supporters of SST through the years,” Callahan said. “Our certifications are just as valuable as a degree depending on the industry. Students and families see the value in tech education and if it’s something they think they want to pursue professionally; our programs are designed to prepare them as much as possible.”

The other individual award winners included Cooperative Middle School English teacher Melissa Tobey as Educator of the Year; Derek Foley of Liberty Mutual as Ambassador of the Year, and Chamber Director of Member Partnerships Bobbi Vandenbulcke received the President’s Award.

The other Business of the Year winners were Clean by Sea, for business services; ReVision Energy, for manufacturing, construction or real estate; Staples, as a large retail or wholesale business; Wireless Zone, as a small retail or wholesale business; Sea Dog Brewing Company, for large tourism and hospitality; Laney & Lu, for small tourism and hospitality; St. Vincent de Paul, as a non-profit; Elliot Evans, of Edward Jones, for independent financial services; and Kennebunk Savings Bank, for commercial financial services.

Jennifer Wheeler, president of the chamber, said each of the award winners made significant contributions to making the Exeter area a thriving community.

“We are so proud of this year’s award winners,” Wheeler said. “There is so much to celebrate in our communities and it is important that we take time to recognize these outstanding businesses and individuals who continue to make this region a vibrant community to live, work and play.”

Exeter Hospital was the Business of the Year Awards’ diamond sponsor and Mark Whitney, vice president of strategic planning at Exeter Health Resources, said though the hospital is a major economic driver in the region, maintaining a healthy community takes the entire business community pulling together in the same direction.

“We see both Exeter Health Resources and the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce as community leaders and catalysts and that is why we value our partnership so deeply,” Whitney said. “Improving the health of the community is a team sport and we like being part of this team.”

LaCasse, Alex, and Alex LaCasse. “Exeter Chamber Honors Community Leaders, Businesses.”,, 4 Apr. 2019,

NH-CTE Recognizes the 2019 Teacher of the Year

NH-CTE Recognizes the 2019 Teacher of the Year

The first EVER New Hampshire teacher of the year award was recently presented at Salem High School.  Like the 1st album of a great band, the first teacher winner reconciles YEARS of never choosing, so the competition was intense and the winner SO DESERVING!

This winner will:

  • Be recognized first and foremost in front of their peers today.
  • Be honored at the New Hampshire CTE conference in August with all of our other award recipients.
  • Be given a banner to display and hang in their school for the 2019-20 school year.

Some basics about the award – The New Hampshire CTE teacher of the year must be a full time teacher who has demonstrated sustained long-term excellence in all aspects of Career and Technical education.  The award recognizes a teacher who has gone above and beyond to provide students with experiences that exemplifies the best of what we have to offer. The selection process involves gathering quite a bit of data.  We appreciate all of those involved in this process – for all the nominees!

So.. let’s talk about some specifics regarding the winner in your midsts today..  Here is how she was portrayed by her professional peers here and elsewhere:

  • This teacher is a consummate professional who spends countless hours working with students, inspiring them to become all that they can be.
  • This individual  arrives to school well before their contracted hours and

stays late into the day or evening to help students succeed.

  • The CTSO this person runs has a rich history of being one of the best in the state, and even the country. The CTSO consistently earns chapter of excellence and wins multiple gold medals at states. In addition, they have been a top 10 contender at Nationals multiple times.
  • This teacher’s robust program advisory committee consists of several of her alumni, now working in the profession, who are honored to give back!
  • This teacher has built a culture of excellence in their program (starting their career in Salem in 1999) where a seat has become highly coveted and a privilege to be accepted. Enrollment in the program continues to soar because of the quality and rigor of the program.
  • Whenever this teacher is observed, you are in awe by their stories and real world examples that apply to the content they are teaching.
  • This teacher is in frequent and consistent communication with students, caseworkers and parents (including a weekly blog). They have set the bar for communication concerning student achievement – and is always proactive –  when there is any hint of a student struggling.
  • This teacher has masterfully pushed students outside their comfort zone, while protecting and encouraging them at the same time.
  • This teacher brings the best of CTE authenticity given her career in nursing that continues on.  This teacher moonlights nights and weekends in the day surgical unit at Elliot Hospital. It is this commitment to keeping a close connection to current practices that brings to life the examples she shares.
  • Many of this teacher’s students have gone on to become nurses, physicians, PT’s, OT’s, PA’s, nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals – serving us all – on a daily basis!

Congratulations to the 2019 New Hampshire CTE Teacher of the year, Janine Parent, Health Science teacher here at Salem High School.