ApprenticeshipNH celebrates its successes

Shown at ApprenticeshipNH’s National Apprenticeship Week program are, from left: Community College System of New Hampshire Chancellor Ross Gittell; Patricia ‘Trish’ Myers, employment counselor at NH Works; Bill Bissonette, career transition specialist at NH Job Corps; Joe Ruelas, vice president of operations at Spraying Systems; Emily Gaudette, director of organizational development at Catholic Medical Center; Tristan Chicoine; and Emily Zeien, ApprenticeshipNH grant manager.

Over 60 sponsors, supporters, community college representatives and community partners gathered at NHTI in Concord on Nov. 15 to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and to highlight the workforce successes and progress made by the ApprenticeshipNH program.

The grant-funded initiative run by the Community College System of New Hampshire is designed to help address workforce needs in New Hampshire by partnering and developing apprenticeship programs with local businesses throughout the state in targeted areas that are growing but are often challenged to fill open positions.

The program focuses on creating Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in the information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, automotive, biotechnology and infrastructure/construction sectors. Participants have the opportunity to earn while they learn by receiving classroom instruction and on-the-job training that can advance their skills to lead to new opportunities and higher pay.

“Since the program’s launch in 2016, ApprenticeshipNH has worked with 35 New Hampshire businesses across the state and enrolled 202 individuals in apprenticeship programs,” said Emily Zeien, ApprenticeshipNH’s grant manager, at the Nov. 15 NHTI event. “What’s truly worth noting is how the program has grown. We’ve almost doubled in size in the last year.”

She said she expects the program will enroll an additional 400 individuals over the next few years.


Also at the event, Catholic Medical Center of Manchester and Spraying Systems, a nationwide manufacturing company based in Merrimack, were recognized for their partnership and support for the work-based learning model of the apprenticeship program.

In April 2018, CMC began its medical assistant apprenticeship program in partnership with Manchester Community College. Since then, CMC has hired 22 apprentices — 21 of whom are still working at CMC, a 95% retention rate.

In January 2018, Spraying Systems launched its first CNC (computer numerical control) machining apprenticeship program in partnership with Nashua Community College. Since starting its Registered Apprenticeship program, Spraying Systems has hired three apprentices and has added additional occupations for machine operators.

The event also featured recognition of community partners Patricia “Trish” Myers, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act employment counselor at NH Works, and Bill Bissonette, career transition specialist at NH Job Corps, as well as two apprentices in the program, Tristan Chicoine and Jozimar Matimano.

Chicoine, a CNC apprentice at Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry, is a graduate of the Manchester School of Technology, through which he did an internship with Wire Belt. After graduating from high school, Chicoine got what he calls a “life-changing” phone call from Wire Belt offering him a job as part of its new Registered Apprenticeship program. As an apprentice there, Chicoine is participating in classroom instruction at Nashua Community College and participating in on-the-job training at the manufacturing facility.

Matimano, a machine operator apprentice at Tecomet Inc. in Manchester, was hired in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the NH Job Corps program. Matimano is a new American who speaks English as a second language and is a full-time student studying the arts in addition to working full time and taking classes as part of a Registered Apprenticeship program.

“The apprenticeship work we celebrate here in New Hampshire and across the country aligns with the mission, values and purpose of the Community College System of New Hampshire,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of the system. “We’re committed to aligning our education and training programs with the workforce needs throughout the state and across a range of industries and with well-paying jobs and careers that support a high quality of life.”

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