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Students are learning computer programming and earning college credits thanks to a new career pathways program at Portsmouth High School. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

Students are learning computer programming and earning college credits thanks to a new career pathways program at Portsmouth High School. (Photo by Cheryl Senter).

BIA, Charitable Foundation announce initiative to strengthen state’s workforce

Workforce Accelerator 2025 to help ensure 65 percent of New Hampshire adults have degrees or high-value credentials needed to thrive in the workforce

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – 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: by creating and supporting school-to-career pathways between New Hampshire’s schools and businesses; and leading 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 to 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 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.

About the Business & Industry Association
The Business & Industry Association is New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce and leading business advocate. The BIA represents more than 400 leading employers in a variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, high technology, professional services, financial services, health care, hospitality and tourism, public utilities, higher education and insurance. Member firms employ 86,000 people throughout the state, which represents one in eight jobs, and contribute $4.5 billion annually to the state’s economy. Through advocacy with state legislators and regulators, BIA works to promote a healthy business climate for job creation and a strong New Hampshire economy. For more information about the BIA, visit www.BIAofNH.com.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,700 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.