Unique STAR program works to close skills gap

I really appreciated reading the article about the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM) Center in Keene that appeared in the most recent edition of NHBR (“Keene consortium sows seeds for future manufacturing workforce,” Aug. 10-23 NHBR).

Our college is proud to be partners with Keene State College, Keene School District, and the Keene Chamber of Commerce in this very special educational collaboration.

The story mentioned River Valley Community College’s CNC Machinist Skills Through Apprenticeship Retraining, or STAR, Program and thought I might take this opportunity to share a little bit more about this program for any interested readers.

The CNC Machinist STAR Program combines an intense education program that readies an individual for employment along with a Vermont and New Hampshire state-registered apprenticeship program. This unique model addresses the education and training needs of a potential employee and an employer’s need for assurance of productivity before hiring an inexperienced worker.

The CNC Machinist STAR program is based on Vermont HITEC’s ITAR program, which has a demonstrated success in retraining and reemploying dislocated professionals, specifically in the areas of technical jobs. It also has demonstrated success in educating and employing individuals who have the aptitude, but no prior experience in a technical field.

The STAR program begins with an eight-week, 40 hours per week, total immersion education program delivered by River Valley Community College. Successful completion of the eight-week course work results in earning an Advanced Machine Tool Technology Certificate from RVCC and 27 credits towards an associate’s degree. Participants also agree to participate in a two-year U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program resulting in a U.S./DOL Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship as a CNC Machine Operator. Due to the apprenticeship requirement, participants must be employees of employers willing to sponsor their attendance in the STAR coursework and the follow-on U.S.-DOL apprenticeship portion.

This program has been delivered at several different locations in both New Hampshire and Vermont. Seven different companies have enrolled employee-students in the STAR program, and over 200 different individuals have graduated with a Certificate in Advanced Machine Tool Technology from River Valley Community College over the course of the past four years. If you or your company is interested in learning more about this unique program, please feel free to contact me directly.


James E. Britton, CMBA
Director of Workforce Development
River Valley Community College
Claremont and Keene Academic Center
1-800-837-0658 ext. 5346

Categories: Letters to the Editor