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 apprenticeshipusanh@ccsnh.edu, or call 603.230.3526.