When you look at the number of job openings in the state, it is astounding at how many businesses and organizations are desperately seeking employees. You then look at the unemployment rate in New Hampshire, which now stands at 3%, and you find a major disconnect. There are not enough employable people in our state to fill all the vacancies that currently exist. That is where workforce development comes in to play.
In our collaboration with business and industry, NHTI’s workforce development identifies the critical employment challenges that exist. We address those challenges by engaging underrepresented and underemployed populations in skill development and career-track trainings. We also work with individual employers to assist them in staff development trainings to intentionally prepare current employees for promotion and career ladder advancement. Both of these approaches help address the current workforce situation.
Workforce development spends a significant amount of time creating training opportunities and coordinating the logistics associated with building their infrastructure. For all that time and effort, the biggest challenge is getting individuals to enroll in the trainings. Our current approach to overcome these challenges is to establish unique trainings that are not generally offered in other locations, share selected training opportunities with our CCSNH workforce partners, and to work closely with industry professional associations to create targeted trainings with the hope that marketing approaches from both sides can generate enough interest to fill seats in these training courses.
Another approach is to work directly with ApprenticeshipNH along with business and industry associations. The goal is to generate employer-driven interest in developing apprenticeship opportunities where individuals are involved in instructional training and on-the-job training while being paid. It also helps employers retain employees as the employers heavily invest in the education and training of the apprentices and, in turn, the apprentices agree to remain with the company over an extended period of time.
These are just a few of the challenges that exist in our state and in our workforce development world. Creativity, flexibility, visibility, and resolve are key in meeting our mission to “…improve the quality and labor market relevance of workforce investment, education, and economic development by providing individuals the training, skills, and credentials necessary to secure and advance employment and to provide employers with skilled workers to address workforce needs.”