Educators and Business Leaders Explore Apprenticeships

Educators and Business Leaders Explore Apprenticeships

On Monday, May 13, dozens of educators and industry leaders are expected at Business Roundtable: Apprenticeship as a Workforce Solution, hosted by Apprenticeship NH and NHTI, Concord’s Community College.

According to Amie L. Pariseau of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, the apprenticeship model is important in NH.

“Apprenticeships can assist employers who are struggling with workforce shortages by connecting them to students who are currently enrolled in Career & Technical Education or Community College programs,” she said. “Employees can also choose a current employee who shows potential that they want to foster growth in.”

Apprenticeship can also serve as a recruitment and retention tool.

“It’s a way for businesses to ensure they have a continuous pipeline of employees with the specific skills and training needed for the industry,” she added.

Al Lawrence, founder of Artisan Electric in Madbury, NH agrees and said the apprenticeship model also “does something a traditional education cannot do.”

“I’ll pay you to learn,” said Lawrence, who said he offers a paid four-year apprenticeship at his company.

His belief in and support of the apprenticeship model results from his appreciation for the outcomes it tends to generate within those who complete it.

“It is more than technical proficiency and skills — and, of course, that is important,” he said. “In the apprenticeship model, you are putting someone to work in the field to learn and experience it. In our program, we focus on developing skills like leadership, problem solving, communication and how to be a good team member.”

Such skills, said Lawrence, are generally lacking in today’s incoming workforce.

“Honestly, a lot of business owners like me are approached by people looking for a job, and the first thing they want to know is what is in it for them,” he said. “As an apprentice, I try to re-frame that and teach the person the skills we need them to have in this industry. They need to deliver value to the company.”

At Business Roundtable: Apprenticeship as a Workforce Solution, Pariseau said the goal of the event is to break down the structure of apprenticeship and discuss five key components: business involvement, structured on-the-job training, classroom instruction, rewards for skill gains and national credential.

“We hope to find employers to engage in the conversation about making apprenticeship part of their strategy to tackle their workforce challenges,” she said.

ApprenticeshipNH is a US DOL grant-funded program housed at the Community College System of NH that helps employers in high-demand industries build registered apprenticeship programs.

“They’ve been hosting roundtable discussions across the state in hospitality and other sectors as well, such as manufacturing and healthcare,” she said.

According to Lawrence, such discussions, while useful, just scratch the surface of a comprehensive solution.

“The larger question many of us face–whether it is the hospitality industry or the trades–is how do we attract young people?” he said. “How do we get kids excited about these industries, because many of us are struggling to handle the work we have now, and New Hampshire has a workforce that continues to age.”

To RSVP for Business Roundtable: Apprenticeship as a Workforce Solution, email, or call 603.230.3526.

CTE’s Big(ger) Picture

CTE’s Big(ger) Picture

Recently, Steve Rothenberg, NHCTA/NH-CTE President, joined a diverse group of leaders from across the nation in California to discuss ways to better advance the skilled trades in the automotive, construction, manufacturing, welding and HVAC sectors.

The trip was sponsored by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, whose guiding principle is grounded in a deep respect for the skilled trades and desire to create real opportunity for kids who love to build, fix and create. Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a philanthropic programs of The Smidt Foundation, founded by Eric Smidt, owner of Harbor Freight Tools.

“Harbor Freight Tools for Schools brought us in to advise them on their funding priorities,” said Rothenberg.

Noting there were some “highlight influential people” in attendance, including several state commissioners of education, United Way worldwide executives, LA public transportation system architects, CTE professionals and others, Rothenberg expressed enthusiasm for their collective recommendations.

“The group felt that a pipeline for skilled trade teachers and overcoming the ‘stigma’ of the trades are the two top issues for the foundation to address moving forward,” he said. “It was a very well organized event, and I was pleased to be able to represent the interests of NH and CTE.”

In addition to receiving recommendations from the group regarding funding priorities, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools sought advice on the merits behind getting involved in policy work at the federal, state, local and/or grassroots levels.

According to Rothenberg, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools has already become deeply involved in CTE, as he noted their first foray in this arena was last year.

“They awarded $500,000 worth of prize money to ten top CTE trade teachers in 2017,” he said. “Teachers actually received $10 to $30K directly, while their programs got the rest. This year, the total was raised to $1 million…The application process has some interesting reflective elements that I think could be used for professional development.”

In reflecting on his experience at the national conference, Rothenberg said he cannot help but look ahead at other issues that could be pursued by NH-CTE. These issues, he said, cover broad areas, some of which include:

How to

  1. Overcome some age limits for trade-based pre-apprenticeships.
  2. Connect employment security, postsecondary and secondary databases to test the impact of interventions/learning, such as CTE completion.
  3. Establish career-related competencies for school counselors.
  4. Establish career credential recognition model for high school graduates.
  5. Create CTE teacher-leader pipelines to enhance succession planning.
  6. Refine and further establish ESSA career-related metrics.
  7. Establish statewide WBL models.
  8. Advocate for years of service credit for industry experience on the teacher scale for new CTE teachers.

“There is a lot for us to think about in NH and nationwide when it comes to CTE,” he added. “The conference got me thinking about an even bigger picture and the possibilities that could exist through Harbor Freight Tools for Schools.”

To learn more about Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, visit