(CONCORD, NH) – The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation have joined forces to help more New Hampshire students get the credentials they need to get good local jobs and to help build a skilled workforce for New Hampshire employers.
The initiative, called Workforce Accelerator 2025 will help ensure a strong, 21st century economy for the Granite State in two ways: to create and support school-to-career pathways between New Hampshire’s schools and businesses; and lead efforts with the state’s public, private and educational sectors to ensure that 65 percent of New Hampshire adults have the degrees and high-value credentials that will be needed to thrive in the state’s workforce by 2025. The initiative’s work will target high school and college students and working adults living in and moving to New Hampshire.
“Right now, the top challenge facing employers of all sizes, in every corner of the state, is finding people with the right skills to fill existing job vacancies. Demographic changes to our state’s population mean this challenge will persist for years,” said BIA President Jim Roche. “Workforce Accelerator 2025 is a robust response by the Charitable Foundation and BIA to address this challenge.”
The initiative is designed to help schools and colleges connect more closely with New Hampshire employers so communities can create “career pathways” where high school students gain workforce skills and engage in hands-on learning for credit, and college students benefit from expanded opportunities for internships. Workforce Accelerator 2025 will work with businesses and educators to expose students to occupational possibilities and to encourage them to build careers in New Hampshire.
“We are thrilled about this partnership,” said Charitable Foundation Vice President Katie Merrow. “New Hampshire needs to increase youth opportunity — so all of our kids get the education, training, and guidance they need to grow into productive adults who will contribute to our communities and sustain our economy into the future. And our employers need an educated and well-trained workforce so they can continue to succeed, stay in New Hampshire, and keep our economy and communities strong.”
The BIA will add a new position, director of workforce development, to oversee Workforce Accelerator 2025 beginning in January. Initial funding for the initiative comes from the BIA, the Charitable Foundation and Fidelity Investments. The partnership is seeking additional funders to support the initiative.
“The alliance of businesses, government, and colleges and universities is critical to ensure that we develop a workforce, both today and in the future, that is well educated and well prepared, and embraces the real career opportunities that exist here,” said Joe Murray, vice president of public affairs for Fidelity in Merrimack. “We hope additional businesses will see the value in this work and invest in its success.”
The Charitable Foundation is working to increase youth opportunity as part of its 10-year, $100 million New Hampshire Tomorrow initiative. Early efforts focused on bringing together partners from business, education, government and the nonprofit sector to strengthen the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce pipeline and better prepare New Hampshire kids for great careers in New Hampshire.
“Workforce Accelerator 2025 is an exciting next step, and one that we expect will really move the needle on this issue that is so critical to the state,” Merrow said. The Accelerator will build on the work of the Charitable Foundation’s New Hampshire Tomorrow initiative, and the efforts of the New Hampshire Department of Education, University System of New Hampshire, Community College System of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education and other partners who have adopted the state’s goal of 65 percent of New Hampshire adults having degrees and high-value credentials by 2025.
The BIA and the Charitable Foundation have a track record of working together on important initiatives. The two were chief architects of Leadership New Hampshire, which has graduated more than 850 people from its leadership development programs since 1993.