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"NH Forward" industry-educational partnership launched


February 24, 2021
FRANKLIN — The City of Franklin, SAU 18 and Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) have been working successfully to address a growing need to provide trained graduates for our local manufacturers.

Beginning with a Manufacturing Night in October 2019 organized by Franklin Councilor Jo Brown, five local manufacturers discussed their unique businesses and educated attendees on the world of manufacturing in the 21st century. All five companies subsequently visited the high school and discussed career options with students. Unfortunately, on-site visits were cancelled as the pandemic hit, but their dogged effort continued to expand with an exciting twist – adopting the world-famous German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) Apprenticeship Program. The newly-launched Franklin pilot program brings together a two-year partnership program with Franklin High School (FHS) students, local industries and (LRCC). A student who successfully completes the program will earn an Associate Degree from LRCC, receive a guaranteed job offer from the sponsoring company, and possess a nationally-recognized apprenticeship certification from the GACC.

According to Pecco Beaufaÿs, owner of the Highland Inn in Andover, "The GACC program aims to create for NH the same apprenticeship opportunities I enjoyed as a young man in Austria. It is no exaggeration to say that my GACC-style apprenticeship experience was the key to my later success in life!

To help support this effort, a non-profit oversight committee named "NH Forward", is being formed.

Committee member Ken Wells of Andover says, "NH Forward's aim is to procure initial funding, coordinate adoption of GACC's expertise with Franklin's resources and needs, solicit commitments from industries, and to ensure that the requirements of NH and US Departments of Labor for registered apprenticeship programs are being met. Franklin, and indeed the rest of New Hampshire, has a great wealth of local educational resources, advanced manufacturing, hospitality, banking and health industry jobs, but lacks a clearly-marked 'on ramp' where students can get up to speed and begin their life's journey in the fast lane of the NH economy. NH Forward will build that 'on ramp.'"

"This is a great example of the school and city working together," according to Superintendent Dan LeGallo, "bringing our connections and contacts together to envision and realize something that is both great for our students, manufacturers, and the City of Franklin. It also puts an end to the myth that progress can only be made by throwing money at a problem. Quite literally, we have accomplished this together using our existing resources in strategic ways to launch this program in Franklin."

And indeed, this collaboration has borne fruit. This semester FHS, through working last fall with Joseph Smith, Electrical/Advanced Manufacturing Instructor/Department Chair at LRCC, two manufacturing courses are now available to FHS students.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to introduce today's manufacturing to the students at Franklin High School," says Smith. "The students are learning critical manufacturing skills and are being exposed to several different occupations in the trade leading to a successful career. I find it very rewarding to see young folks get excited about this trade and excelling at it as well as fulfilling the needs of the community."

According to Jule Finley, Curriculum Coordinator for SAU 18, "With the Machine Tool Math course and the other upcoming courses related to advanced manufacturing added to our curriculum, we will be able to provide increasing support, reach a whole other caliber of students and allow for new and beneficial ways for our students to earn their math credits."

Students have jumped at the chance to engage in the novel remote learning opportunity presented by Machine Tool Math, exceeding initial enrollment expectations. After nine weeks, they will begin the next course in the sequence, Blueprint Reading, and then be ready to enroll in Computer Assisted Design (CAD) after that. It is an exciting time to be a high school student In Franklin, earning college credits and being able to launch a promising career through the NH Forward education and apprenticeship program!

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