Vt. training program aids N.H. company

Hypertherm, a developer of plasma cutting technology headquartered in Hanover, is reaping the rewards of a Vermont-based training program.

Barely two weeks ago, 16 new employees began a new career with Hypertherm, working second and third shifts as CNC machinists following a nine-week training course offered through Vermont HITECH, a non-profit agency dedicated to providing Vermont residents with training needed to secure employment in industries with promising futures.

“Thus far it has been amazing,” said Hypertherm human resources specialist and recruiter Kelly Ray. “It already seems like they’ve been part of Hypertherm for a long time.”

According to Ray, the partnership developed through an agreement between Hypertherm and Vermont HITECH, through which Hypertherm would sponsor an entire class of students interested in learning computer numeric control machining. These students would then begin work at Hypertherm’s Hanover facility, filling a need for well-qualified machinists.

“We don’t necessarily have a hard time finding people to work at Hypertherm,” Ray said. “But now we have people who are actually skilled and experienced at the job when they start.”

An ongoing relationship between the New Hampshire company and the Vermont training program may depend on changing needs for skilled workers throughout the Green Mountain State, however.

Vermont HITECH began skilled training one year ago under a grant that mandated that the nonprofit agency tour the state offering training in regions that have demonstrated a need for skilled workers. Vermont HITECH’s stay in the Springfield, Vt., area had almost reached its end when Hypertherm volunteered to sponsor an entire class of trainees, delaying the agency’s departure.

Vermont HITECH did move to Burlington, Vt., following the successful completion of the nine-week training course.

Ray said that, based on the success of the new partnership, Hypertherm would like to continue to work with Vermont HITECH in the future.

“We most definitely are continuing to talk with them,” Ray said. “It’s of value to us, and we’d like to work with them again.” — TRACIE STONE

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