‘Serving Up’ New Career Pathways

‘Serving Up’ New Career Pathways

There are many pathways into a career, which underscores New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association’s role in Carroll Academy, an adult high school program in Tamworth, NH.

“In this current workforce climate, you need to look into every possible resource and partnership,” said Amie Pariseau of New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association (NHLRA).

Whereas much of her work consists in partnering with New Hampshire Career and Technical Education Centers, Pariseau said she saw an opportunity with Carroll Academy, which has resulted in Introduction to Hospitality.

Aimed at adults who do not have their diploma or HiSET (high school equivalency like the GED), the program is collaborative in nature, according to Crystal Sawyer, director of Carroll Academy/Carroll County Adult Education.

“I was approached in May of 2018 by Amie and Christina Baker from the Mount Washington Omni Hotel, to see if I would be interested in teaching a certified Hospitality course,” she explained.

In September of 2018, Sawyer said Michelle Hart from NHWorks indicated they could partner with the group and could pay for the class for any student eligible for a Basic Skills grant.

“If the student was making under $15 and was looking for a job in hospitality, they could take this beginner’s Hospitality class,” said Sawyer. “NHWorks would also help them find a job after the class in the field.”

In designing the certified class, Sawyer chose the AHLEI START (Skills, Tasks, And, Results, Training) 180-hour Curriculum Program. The START Program, she explained, is basically an introduction to every position in the hospitality sector — Front Desk Representative, Security, PBX Operator, Bell Attendant, Maintenance, Laundry, House Keeping, Food and Beverage, etc.

“At the end of the course, the student takes a final,” he said. “If they pass that, they get a START Certificate that they can show an employer.”

Noting the first class ran once each week with three recent graduates, Sawyer said Carroll County Adult Education is the first Adult Education center in the state to teach this certified AHLEI START course.

“We also have an Articulation Agreement with White Mountains Community College stating that our Hospitality course is considered a 3 credit course for their Introduction to Hospitality program,” she said.

Students in the class are diverse.

“I have an ESL student that has been with us for years and would like to switch career paths,” said Sawyer. “Another student is a former HiSET graduate who works in hospitality and would like to move up the ladder with her certificate.”

According to Pariseau, NHLRA could not be more excited about the possibilities for the program.

“We hope to see it grow and taught at other centers,” she said.

Currently, Pariseau said there are in fact plans for Manchester Adult Education to role out a similar program this fall.

Regarding the program at Carroll Academy/Carroll County Adult Education, which may soon include an apprenticeship track, she said students receive much more than an introduction to the hospitality industry.”

“They are receiving a nationally recognized certificate and a pathway to continue their education if they choose to do so,” she said.

In looking ahead at NHLRA’s role in general, Pariseau stated, “We will continue to support the efforts of all of our education partners as we look to continue to build a workforce pipeline and support current workforce needs of the industry.”

To learn more about NHLRA, visit https://www.nhlra.com. To learn more about Carroll Academy, visit https://www.carrollacademy.net.


Meeting Industry Needs at Bretton Woods Culinary Academy

Meeting Industry Needs at Bretton Woods Culinary Academy

To meet the workforce demands, Omni Mount Washington Resort has developed Bretton Woods Culinary Academy (BWCA) in partnership with White Mountains Community College (WMCC) and the NH Department of Labor.

A 3-year program, BWCA allows students to enroll in WMCC to work on their Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and attend classes at Omni.

“They work with chefs on property and learn about different subjects to cooking,” said Joseph Madzia IV, Executive Sous Chef at Omni. “The school sends their chefs here to teach the lecture classes and the students attend the school for their math and English classes.”

The program also consists of an apprenticeship in which students work full-time and receive compensation.

“They get to move around the resort in different positions learning from all of our wonderful chefs, supervisors, and fellow cooks,” said Madzia, who stressed the importance of the program.

“The students are our future,” he added. “We take the time to teach them so they are ready for a job. We want to see these students graduate and go onto higher positions leading their own team.”

He said their goal is to not just teach them culinary basics, but provide them with a strong foundation to continue their career with Omni.

“We hope the training they receive from us will offer them better job opportunities since they will finish with an Associate’s Degree, 3 years work experience and completion of an Apprentice Program,” he said.

For Madzia, the apprenticeship aspect of the program is particularly important, which said they customize to suit their needs at Omni.

“The students are taught all the basics and advanced skills they would get if they attend the school but the 3 years of experience helps jump start their career,” he explained. “We use this opportunity to cover all the standards the college would teach but go more in-depth with standards our specific hotel follows.”

He said program graduates are great candidates for the Omni brand, which enable them to immediately hire them into positions that directly impact the workforce shortage.

“We have been partnered with the NH Department of Labor in efforts to maximize this program to support our state,” said Madzia. “This program is an interesting way to think outside the box to find and train new chefs.”

In reflecting on the strength and relevance of BWCA, Madzia contrasted it with his own experience as a student and aspiring chef.

“I attended a culinary school where I spent two years attending class full time,” he said. “I needed to pick up a part time job so I had money, but the jobs I had were not the best. I didn’t get to use that work experience on my resume after because some of the jobs I had were simple.”

He said BWCA, however, provides both educational and hands-on training as well as  networking opportunities that often help open doors.

“If the students put a little money from each paycheck aside on their own, they can pay for their classes as they go and be debt free from school at the end,” he said.

Currently, BWCA has six students with two starting their third year and graduating in May of 2020.

“We are very excited for this class’s graduation, because it will be our first one,” Madzia said. “We wish them great success in this career. The other four students will graduate in May 2021.”

BWCA is currently accepting applications for incoming freshmen. To learn more, visit https://www.brettonwoods.com/bwca.

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 portsmouthcte.com.

Workforce shortage underscores importance of SkillsUSA, CTE Education

Workforce shortage underscores importance of SkillsUSA, CTE Education

Like many states around the nation, New Hampshire is experiencing difficulty filling available jobs in what are broadly referred to as ‘the trades,’ a problem managers and business owners fear will only worsen.

“This isn’t a case where we are going to be in trouble–we are already in trouble,” said Al Lawrence, owner of Artisan Electrical Contractors in Madbury, NH. “The average age of an electrician is over 55 in New Hampshire and the average age of a plumber is older. We take these trades for granted.”

Josh Brunk, executive director of SkillsUSA New Hampshire, agrees and said this ‘skills gap’ requires ‘hands-on solutions.’

“SkillsUSA New Hampshire, while not the only organization committed to filling this skills gap, plays an important role in helping students walk out of high school prepared for work in the trades,” he said.

One of the ways in which SkillsUSA New Hampshire works, according to Lawrence, who serves as its treasurer, is through local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. At the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, nearly 6,000 students compete in 99 occupational and leadership skill areas.

“SkillsUSA programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training and promote community service,” he added.

At the state level, the month of March is busy for SkillsUSA New Hampshire state staff like Lawrence, who expressed enthusiasm at the upcoming Electrical Construction Wiring contest. Scheduled to take place on March 20 at Manchester Community College, the contest includes a written test of questions formulated from the latest edition of the National Electric Code (NEC) and a practical conduit bending exercise.

“There is also a hands-on component where students must install a conduit system, cabling system and wiring devices,” said Lawrence. “It is not an easy competition.”

Sponsored by Electrical Contractors Business Association, the competition is supported by many of its members and other industry leaders, each of whom donated their time and resources, while Independent Electrical Supply supplies all materials. Competitors receive prizes of tools and scholarships and the opportunity to travel to Louisville, Kentucky and represent the state of NH in the national competition.

Al Lawrence of Artisan Electrical Contractors

For Lawrence, the state competition, however, is more than a fun experience, as he said it reflects the apprenticeship model of learning.

“In my model of learning, you come to work for me,” he said. “You don’t really have enough experience to know exactly what you want to do and you don’t have any significant skills yet, but I can teach those.”

He said the apprenticeship model of learning is “sort of like going to college” with one big difference.

“I’ll pay you to learn–not the other way around,” he said. “I am very comfortable with investing in the right type of person, because I believe that once they learn these skills that my investment will pay off.”

He said the current secondary educational system, however, defines higher education and what a professional career looks like In a very particular way. SkillsUSA and Career and Technical Education in general, he noted, are important because they reverse some of the stigmas that have been created regarding the trades.

“We have basically developed an unfair and inaccurate view of these professions,” he said. “We have created this horrible situation and just now are starting to figure out that we have a real problem.”

This problem, he said, has yet to be felt by many in society, although he said this will change in just the next few years.

“We need people with specific skill sets to do this work and the problem is we don’t have that,” he said. “They are all retiring and no one is taking over.”

While acknowledging there are some who may always laugh at the trades, Brunk said the kinds of careers possible today in them–and their pay–is no laughing matter.

“There are young people entering the workforce stepping into $25/hr. jobs and working their way up from there in careers that help build skills that transfer into other industries, too,” he said. “You can live a very comfortable life working in the trades.”

When the trades prosper, added Lawrence, the impact extends far beyond the individual lives of those who work within them.

“We are able to contribute to their local economy and raise families and give back,” he said. When we hire new people, it isn’t just the business that is getting direct benefit of that. Our employees have to go outside and buy lunch so they go to the local sub shop, they need gas, an auto mechanic, etcetera. “We are part of society’s infrastructure–we literally help build it.”

To learn more about SkillsUSA New Hampshire, visit skillsusanh.org.

Constructing a New Career Pathway for Students

Constructing a New Career Pathway for Students

One of the biggest challenges in industry today in New Hampshire is the workforce labor shortage, a reality that serves as backdrop to a new construction career exploration program at Parkside Middle School in Manchester.

According to Jennifer Landon of Associated Builders and Contractors of New Hampshire/Vermont (ABC NH/VT), the program is unique in that it provides an educational curriculum with significant input from industry.

“Our role was to bring industry partners to the table to not only discuss what they wanted to see taught, but to be involved in the classroom and supplement the learning experience,” she said. “We’ve also reached out to suppliers to help supplement initial materials costs.”

She said ABC’s involvement stems from a call they received last year from Procon’s Jimmy Lehoux, who at the time was pushing for election to the Manchester Board of School Committee. His message during his election campaign, which he won, included a desire to bring the trades back into the schools.

“Since the 90s, trades have been slowly disappearing from our schools, and now the industry is paying the price,” he said.

This price, he noted, is an industry struggling to find workers.

“Today’s average age of a trades person is around age 53, which means that in 10 years there will be a major gap in skilled labor,” he said. “We need to help students identify the opportunities that exist in this field and also recognize that they can have an extremely successful career.”

In helping build the program with educators at the school, district officials, industry partners, ABC and others, Lehoux said they are taking a very necessary first step to addressing this need in the construction industry. As for how it works, he said the program takes the traditional wood-shop class and breaks it into mini-segments on the trades.

“Every two to three weeks the trades change to give the students an overview of different disciplines in construction,” he explained. “After each segment, an industry professional comes in and speaks with the students on subject matter, such as architecture, safety, framing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and masonry.”

Landon said the program is also flexible enough to welcome industry partners in related sectors.

“We can expose them to many different career fields in the industry and how everything works together,” she said. “We need to build a pipeline into CTE, so having industry partners is what makes this program so unique and important. We need industry partners talking about their trades, their career paths, and the quality of life this industry offers to engage younger students. We need to expand the IBuildNH brand.”

According to Lehoux, the program is also important in that it dispels pervasive myths about construction careers, which he said many people mistakenly think are meant for those not interested in college.

“Technology has taken the lead in how we construct commercial buildings as well as residential homes,” he said.

While currently at Parkside Middle School, the program may serve as a template that could be replicated at the other three middle schools in Manchester in 2019.

“They all want in,” said Landon, who noted they are to all meet as a group in mid-December to discuss replicating the program.

The strength of this program, she said, is not just its content.

“This type of program, regardless of content, allows students to make better informed decisions about their career options,” she said. “There are several challenges we face in career planning. How do we shift the paradigm with the adult influencers? How do we embrace career exploration? What can we do to keep our youth in New Hampshire to contribute to our local economy?”

The answer is complicated, but she said industry input will continue to be essential.

“Through the Sector Partner Initiative, we are hoping programs like the one we are piloting at Parkside will help address the critical labor shortage,” she added. “The program reflects a model built around industry/education partnerships. We would like to see industry partners essentially adopt a school and have it built into their business model–everyone will benefit from such a model.”

To learn more about the construction career exploration program, or related ABC NH/VT and Sector Partner Initiative (SPI) initiatives, visit www.abcnhvt.org and https://nhsectorpartners.org/industries/construction/.

Making the Collaborative Case for Computer Science

Making the Collaborative Case for Computer Science

With the majority of STEM jobs in computing and a projected job growth of 13% compared with 6.5% growth across all occupations, the need for computer science education has never been greater.

It is this need that in part led Creative Computing Challenge (CCC), a five-year program funded by the National Science Foundation, to establish CS4NH. A working group of business/industry, non-profits, and K-12/higher education members collaborating to bring computer science to all New Hampshire K-12 students, CS4NH is working to increase access to and participation in Computer Science educational opportunities.

CS4NH’s Terry Wolf, a NH state legislative representative and vice chair of the House Education Committee, cited “a huge shift” in the public’s understanding of the need for computer science education.

“Not too long ago, people thought Computer Science only needed to be offered at the high school level as an elective,” she explained. “Today, people want kids to be more than consumers of technology. They want them to be the creators, innovators and problem solvers.”
She said this shift in understanding, furthered by advocacy efforts by CS4NH, led to the passage of NH House Bill 1674 earlier this year, which made Computer Science as a core K-12 subject area.

“After listening to a wide variety of stakeholders, adding Computer Science to the definition of an adequate education matched what people are looking for,” she said. “The bill passed with wide bipartisan support in the legislature.”

CS4NH’s Beth Doiron, Director of College Access and DOE programs and initiatives at the community college system of NH, said skills learned in computer science courses help students build basic problem-solving skills.
“Computer science instruction helps students understand how to accomplish tasks more efficiently and help them be better prepared for college in general, regardless of their career or program major choice,” she said.

CS4NH has forged several strategic partnerships, including one with the New Hampshire Tech Alliance, which Executive Director Matt Cookson said makes sense for them in several ways.

“CS4NH goals align perfectly with the goals of our Workforce Development committee and mission of the organization,” he said. “Being able to house the efforts of CS4NH and support its growth and implementation was a logical step as we look to encourage more young people to learn about Computer Science in New Hampshire.”

Judith Burrows, Director of Student Aid at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, another CS4NH collaborator, said her biggest takeaway from computer science is the thought processes such a curriculum seeks to encourage.

“Computational thinking is much more than just programming or IT,” she said. “It is foundational for all businesses. It really is the currency that businesses are looking for regardless of the field.”

Citing computational thinking as “the backbone” of various forms of technology, Lori Langlois, Director, North Country Education Services, said Computer Science addresses current and future needs.

“Given the known workforce shortages in NH in computer programming, web development, and other skilled computing fields, CS4NH has an important role in advocating to increase access and participation in CS to foster these career paths for students,” she said.

Langlois said CS4NH is particularly important in her region.

“For the North Country, computer science holds the potential for developing an
innovation economy,” she said. “In order to attract new or expanding businesses, northern NH schools are focusing on computer science with the intention of making visible, the young, energetic, and talented individuals we are developing for a STEM-skilled employee pipeline.”

To learn more about CS4NH, or any related initiative, visit cs4nh.org.

This is the final story of a multi-part series on CCC and the relevance of computational thinking in the classroom and industry in NH.