Today, thanks to the vision of entrepreneurs across the state, New Hampshire is once again thriving, especially with regard to advanced manufacturing: 3D printing, CNC machining, and robotics, to name a few.
The state’s manufacturing base is also growing due to a 2011 $20 million U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT grant, which allowed New Hampshire to create its Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships in Education, or AMPed NH, initiative. (TAACCCT stands for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training.)
AMPed NH’s purpose is to educate and train eager, motivated people for high-wage, high-skill jobs in New Hampshire’s advanced manufacturing industry.
Deeply integrated into New Hampshire’s Community College System, AMPed NH offers six advanced manufacturing programs:
- Advanced Composite Technologies
- Electronics and Electromechanics
- Engineering and Programming
- Robotics and Automation
- Advanced Machine Technologies
- Advanced Welding Technologies
Young workers, displaced workers — anyone can be trained and certified for a manufacturing job
“It used to be that manufacturing jobs were hot, dirty, and greasy,” says Jennifer Marcologno, AMPed NH’s TAACCCT Online Programs Developer and Advisor.
“Many of these jobs have been automated. Manufacturing today is very clean, and as you know, requires highly-skilled labor to use and program the new connected machines. Our goal here at AMPed NH is to recruit and train workers and to form partnerships with manufacturers in the communities we serve.”
AMPed’s target audience includes traditional students, displaced workers, career changers, and others who want to explore a career in manufacturing. AMPed NH’s age demographic includes 18 year olds through those in their 60s.
Women comprise 25% of program participants. “They’re generally older than our male demographic,” says Marcologno.
“What’s been wonderful to watch with this program,” says Marcologno, “is that our older students have been teaching younger students the ways of the world. And the younger people in turn have been helping older students become comfortable with email and developing their ePortfolios.”
AMPedNH Connect — Bringing students and companies together
As part of the program, manufacturing companies with employment opportunities have the ability to connect with AMPed NH students and alumni through AMPedNH Connect, an AMPed NH online networking site. Business owners, production managers and others can post jobs for free.
Registered student members of the AMPedNH Connect community can view available job postings and submit application and resume materials directly through the website.
AMPedNH Connect also provides ePortfolios for manufacturing students where they can post a resume, photos and descriptions of completed classwork or outside projects, and any certifications earned.
“The ability for manufacturing students to showcase their achievements through ePortfolios is groundbreaking,” says Marcologno. “Industries such as nursing and education have had this ability for years.”
A true partnership with industry
According to Marcolongo, the curricula for the six advanced manufacturing education programs were developed in partnership with New Hampshire manufacturers.
During the grant research phase and beyond, AMPed NH leaders solicited feedback from employers regarding what they needed from students coming out of the program and which machines and software to buy.
The grant allowed the Community College System of New Hampshire to update all seven of its manufacturing labs with top-of-the-line machinery, computers — everything students need to obtain the skills needed for today’s manufacturing jobs.
The welding lab at the White Mountains Community College, for example, contains a welding simulator plus 36 welding booths. Five of the NH community colleges’ manufacturing labs contain a 3D printer as well.
“The main goal of the grant,” says Marcolongo, “is to produce highly skilled workers with the skillsets employers need, and in that, we are a success. But, we couldn’t have done it without our partners who have and continue to devote hours of unpaid time to sit on advisory boards. Several have donated equipment, others provide internships for students.”
The program is so successful, in fact, administrators from the community colleges have reported that in many cases, graduates don’t have to look for a job because manufacturers are waiting for students as they complete the program.
For more information about AMPed NH, visit the website.
If you’re a NH manufacturer and need highly skilled employees, be sure to check out AMPedNH Connect.
You can also learn more about the U.S. Department of Labor’s TAACCCT grant program.