For adult learners who want to earn an associate degree in 20 months or certificate in 10 months, the Accelerated Lifelong Learning Program (ALL) at Nashua Community College (NCC) may be for you.
Developed by Samantha Belcourt, CTE and Continuing Education Coordinator, ALL is scheduled to launch in fall 2020 with the following programs:
- Business Administration AS: Management
- Business Administration AS: Small Business Entrepreneurship
- Psychology AA
- Data Analytics Certificate (10 month program)
While the program lays out a fast-track, Belcourt said ALL’s cohort-structured schedule provides a pathway to success for committed students.
“The structured schedule is designed for adults to plan ahead of time and know what to expect for class time and homework,” she said. “It combines online, evening and weekend education to complement a 9 to 5 work schedule. Adult learners can still work while they engage in a full-time college schedule.”
Belcourt said she was inspired by a similar program that helps adult learners in California.
“I learned about it this past fall at a conference with Complete College of America,” she explained. “That program [in California] has had a huge success in this accelerated style. I think many people are looking for this type of fast-paced credential to get them where they want to be.”
With increased economic stressors on individuals and businesses since the health crisis began, Belcourt said that “it’s a good time to have the option of an accelerated degree and certificate pathway.”
“A lot of companies have now laid off employees, and people are not sure yet about their education goals,” she added. “I am hoping people will find this program helpful while unemployed to gain more credentials.”
As for who makes for an ideal candidate for the program, Belcourt cited “motivated students looking to get ahead fast.”
“It’s good for someone who has started some college in the past and wants to return and get their degree at an accelerated pace,” she said. “ALL is also good for high school students who are comfortable with an accelerated pace…For students with the ultimate goal of a bachelor’s degree, ALL also creates a pathway to the Granite State College accelerated bachelor program.”
To learn more about ALL, visit https://www.nashuacc.edu/academics/all.
In 2019, Bruce Farr, Principal of Lakes Region Technical Center (LRTC), received the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, a recognition that underscores for him the importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) itself.
“Everyone needs a balanced education,” he said. “Public education must provide our young people with an appreciation for the arts, academic skills, civic engagement and job skills.”
This need, he said, has always been top of mind for him.
“Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I witnessed the effect of not having the skills to be successfully employed and the benefits of having valued skills in the workplace,” he said.
For Farr, who has more than 45 years experience in CTE, a continuing issue is that the general public still does not know about this educational arm in the state.
“In many ways, CTE continues to be an unseen ‘jewel’ of public education,” he explained. “Those who have been enrolled in CTE programs or have volunteered in those programs clearly appreciate CTE. However, many of our citizens do not know the opportunities for our students.”
Noting he is personally and professional humbled at receiving the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, Farr expressed particular enthusiasm in his role at helping to modernize NH’s Alternative 4 (Alt 4) program.
“It is a customized process whereby candidates who are highly successful in their field, but lack the traditional formal 4-year teacher preparation degree, are better supported during the certification process,” he said.
The need for Alt 4, he said, cannot be overemphasized.
“A CTE instructor must not only have the ability to successfully teach young people, but they also need extensive firsthand knowledge of their trade/industry,” said Farr. “We have candidates who are willing to make that mid career change and we need to support them.”
He described Alt 4 as an “on-ramp for highly qualified people to enter the field.”
“Each individual’s skills are examined and compared to the state teacher competencies, which results in a plan that can be developed to assist him or her acquire those missing skills,” he said. “It’s a terrific program.”
In looking ahead for CTE and LRTC, Farr said he is excited that at the development of a more seamless transition from high school to either direct job placement or post-secondary school.
“The expansion of CTE to include a rigorous senior year where a student can be enrolled in college, intern in several businesses or start an apprenticeship will support this, too,” he added.
To learn more about LRTC, visit https://www.lakesregiontechcenter.org.
On April 2 at Nashua Community College, high school juniors and seniors are invited to Industry & Transportation/Manufacturing Career Discovery Day, an opportunity to learn about their various transportation and manufacturing programs.
Transportation programs include Automotive Technology, Aviation Technology, Collision Repair Technology and Honda Automotive Technology, while manufacturing programs feature Precision Manufacturing, CNC and Mechanical Design Technology.
“We have invited many of our industry partners from both the transportation and manufacturing industries,” said Samantha Belcourt, CTE Coordinator of Continuing Education, Nashua Community College. “Many of our partners also serve on program advisory boards, which help inform curriculum and ensures that our graduates are career ready.”
These relationships, she said, are crucial.
“They keep our programs current and relevant to the needs of industry,” she added.
Belcourt said the event is not just geared toward students with experiences in these fields.
“Seniors at the high school level who have not had exposure to these type industries are under the misconception that they cannot pursue a degree in these fields,” she said. “These programs, however, welcome students with all backgrounds and experiences.”
According to Karl Wunderlich, Department Chair of Transportation, Nashua Community College, the event also underscores the educational value available with the Community College System of New Hampshire.
“Why spend $100,000.00 or more on a four year education and not be able to earn that back within 5 years?” he rhetorically noted. “Our 2-year degree, for example, costing about $25,000.00 including tools, can help a student earn higher wages and more job security. A graduate working in this industry for 5 years can earn $100,000 annually or more.”
He said job placement in these fields for graduates is nearly “instant.”
“The rate of new people coming into this field is not keeping pace with those reaching retirement age,” he added. “All types of jobs available.”
Belcourt agreed and said community college education relies on partnerships with both educational leaders and industry partners.
“We depend on our industry partners to help align our programs with industry standards,” she said. “We can not only set the right expectations for out students, but create career pathways.”
Any educator interested in bringing their students to campus for Career Discovery Day can RSVP to NCC Admissions Director Laura Tremblay at email@example.com.
On October 2, the New Hampshire Joint Engineering Societies (NHJES) held its 13th Annual Conference, highlighted by a live demonstration from students from St. Thomas Aquinas in Derry.
“They were able to demonstrate the skill of the VEX IQ robot picking up cylinders in an agility style movement,” said NHEJS Board Member Frank Xydias, who teaches at Milford High School & Applied Technology Center. “It was great.”
Representing the third year running in which the conference included secondary teachers and students, this year’s conference featured several other presentations.
Students from Manchester Community College’s Workforce Development Summer STEM Camps showcased their 3D printing and robotics skills. In addition, Milford High School & Applied Technology Center’s Engineering and Career Focus Internship students discussed their programs.
“The conference provides an opportunity for students to connect with professional engineers from across the state,” added Xydias. “It’s a chance to learn about career pathways, career planning and network as a junior engineer.”
NHJES Chair Michale Bogue commented on the skills and preparation demonstrated by these students.
“Our society has expressed a desire to stay true to our mission, which is to provide education, leadership, and support,” he said.
“We do this for both our adult members and our future members, the students in attendance, added Xydias.
Members in NHEJS include New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers – NH Section, IEEE – New Hampshire Section, Society of Women Engineers, Southern New Hampshire, and Structural Engineers of New Hampshire.
At this year’s conference, Keynote Speaker Dr. Cist, Vice President of R&D for Geophysical Survey Systems in Nashua, told stories of applications of ground penetrating radar systems.
“While it is a subject that sounds like it would only apply to engineers in the field, his illustrations and stories captivated us all,” recounted Xydias. “He also challenged all the students in the audience to follow their passion for engineering, because it is a career that does a lot of good.”
It is also a career with “tremendous diversity,” as he said there are more than 40 types of engineering degrees and a number of subcategory professions,” he said.
“An engineering career can lead to many other professions,” he added. “It is not exactly what people think, which is why this conference is important, because it helps to paint that broader picture.”
As for the future of engineering, Xydias said it is unknown to a certain extent, which makes the field so intriguing.
acknowledged he is not sure, which he said makes the engineering field so interesting.
“The careers that students will be going into in 10 years have not even been developed yet,” he said. The future is wide open, and engineering is going to be behind many of the advances that shape how we live.”
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.
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.