Community colleges are essential for N.H. economy

All seven schools offer training and education programs that align with the needs of advanced manufacturers

Manufacturing is New Hampshire’s No. 1 industry and New Hampshire’s seven community colleges are purring engines primed for fulfilling employer needs with skilled team members and aiding the state’s economic growth.

The marketplace wants more of those skilled workers, but the pipeline must expand to meet current and future needs.

The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, in its recent Strategic Economic Plan, correctly cites the need “to guide students to high-growth job opportunities, increase awareness among students, parents and school guidance counselors of advanced manufacturing and high technology careers.”

Zenagui Brahim, president of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, nails the problem as well. “A major issue is awareness, at middle and high school levels, of what advanced high-tech manufacturing is today and the programs that the community colleges can offer.”

Here is what the future employers of those students, and others, have to say:

 • Doug Folsom, executive plant Leader of GE Aviation, Hooksett: “Availability of good people is a problem. Many of our recent hires are people with only 10 years left before retirement. We need more people who are starting their careers. We also need to get more women involved. With overtime our people can make 75-80k a year. I would say to high school graduates that there is definitely a career path – CMM programmers, designers or CAD operators.”

 • Pete Samuelson, president of S&S Machine, Amherst: “It’s tough to find good, capable people. I’m on the advisory board of Nashua Community College and am pleased to see them teaching Master CAM and Solid Works, the programs we use, but we need more of that, and more people who can use them.”

 • Frank Stone, CEO of OMNI Components, Hudson: “Partnering with Nashua Community College is a key component to Omni’s success. The students are committed and passionate about their career. Our folks can move on to engineering, supervisor, quality control or quotation manager positions if they choose.”

 • John Olson, president of Whelen Engineering, Charlestown: “We are desperate for talented people with an advanced educational background and understanding of manufacturing processes. I could use 100 people right now!”

All seven community colleges in New Hampshire offer training and education programs that align with the needs of advanced manufacturers.

A small sampling of curriculum and course choices includes advanced machine tool technology and processes, computer aided design, numerical control programming, robotics and automation engineering and programming, and lean and green manufacturing methods.

Parents, are you listening? The average tuition for a full-time CCSNH student is $6,000 per year. Community Colleges are New Hampshire’s affordable entryway into a workforce vacuum that begs to be filled.

Students, catch this: You can operate space-age high-tech equipment and make neat stuff that contributes to society’s needs. There is both great income and responsibility potential. Please visit to learn more.

Attention veterans: Manufacturers fully recognize the value of your military training and experience. Many make components for the defense and aerospace industries. If you are within 10 years of your date of discharge, take your DD-214 and seek out the veteran’s representative at the community college you’d like to attend.

Under-employed folks, think about it: Community colleges may be the gateway to a more fulfilling occupation that leverages your talents and education. Financial aid is available.

Legislators: If you are concerned about economic development and job growth our community colleges deserve your full support.

John Cebrowski of Bedford is a former three-term Republican state representative and a former member of the New Hampshire Economic Development Advisory Council.

Categories: Opinion