With NH currently facing a workforce shortage that is only expected to grow more serious in the next few years, the HR State Council of New Hampshire has become an increasingly important and vocal resource.
“Our focus is to support the HR community through legislative efforts, networking events and a variety of HR related initiatives, including workforce readiness,” said Tim Dabrieo, Director, HR State Council of New Hampshire.
In discussing the connection between HR professionals and workforce development issues, Dabrieo said they are the ones who “do the hiring.”
“They can’t find people,” he said. “We need to get HR professionals past today and thinking about three years from now.”
According to Robyn Chadwick, Director of Workforce Readiness, an initiative of the HR State Council, one way to assist the HR community is by helping schools better connect with industry. Career days, she said, represent one such resource.
“These are events where employers can come into schools and discuss what they do, what they need, and opportunities that exist right now at their company,” she said. “These events are increasingly important resources for schools and industry.”
Dabrieo agreed and said another area of focus for the HR State Council is to help secondary schools develop meaningful internships and work-based opportunities for students.
“We want to help employers take a more active role in helping develop curriculums that meet workforce needs—whether it is in healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing or other key industries,” he said.
Chadwick added, “It’s about career pathways and sparking that interest in students.”
In addition to helping connect industry leaders with educators, Chadwick said the HR State Council hosts numerous workforce readiness presentations for students.
“They run the full gamut—from how to do a handshake to resume writing, how to dress, set up a LinkedIn profile, create a proper email address or set up appropriate social media accounts,” she said. “We do mock interviews, too.”
In looking to the future, Chadwick said they the HR State Council is part of a broader HR-focused statewide initiative.
“We have educators, industry leaders, and other stakeholders working together and sharing resources to meet the workforce needs of today and tomorrow,” she said. “We can’t work in silos.”
An affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the HR Council is joined in this collaborative effort by Manchester Area Human Resource Association (MAHRA), Seacoast Human Resource Association (SHRA) and other SHRM Chapters across the state as well as BIA of NH, Reaching Higher NH, Stay, Work Play, NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs and the Department of Education among others.
As part of this group, which is currently divided into various task forces that will analyze and develop possible solutions to the workforce development gaps that face NH, Chadwick expressed optimism about a possible summit next summer.
“We want to bring teachers in and businesses together to help educate teachers on what really happens day to day inside their businesses what they do,” she said. “We need industry and educators working together to build curricula that align with career opportunities available to the incoming workforce.”
According to Chadwick, the need for collaborative, HR-focused solutions is not theoretical either.
“I’m the Human Resources Manager at Normandeau Associates, a national environmental consulting firm, and I see the need for these solutions today,” she said. “We need young professionals to stay here and keep working here.”
Dabrieo added, “We have talked to CEOs and presidents, and they are all facing hiring challenges…The role of the HR State Council is to help facilitate conversations between industry and educators. We don’t need to reinvent any wheels. We have resources. We just need to let the right people know about them.”
To learn more about the HR State Council of New Hampshire, visit https://nhstatecouncil.shrm.org.