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BIA and Charitable Foundation Team Up on Workforce Challenges
Published Monday, December 19, 2016

The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation have joined forces to help more NH students get the credentials they need to land local jobs and to help build a skilled workforce for NH employers.

Called Workforce Accelerator 2025, the initiative will do two main things: One, create and support school-to-career pathways between NH’s schools (high school and college) and businesses; and two, lead efforts with the state’s public, private and educational sectors to ensure that 65 percent of NH adults have the degrees and high-value credentials that will be essential for the state’s workforce by 2025.

The initiative’s work will target both high school and college students and working adults living in and moving to NH.

“Right now, the top challenge facing employers of all sizes, in every corner of the state, is finding people with the right skills to fill existing job vacancies. Demographic changes to our state’s population mean this challenge will persist for years,” said BIA President Jim Roche.

Workforce Accelerator 2025 will create career pathways where high school students gain workforce skills and engage in hands-on learning for credit, and college students benefit from expanded opportunities for internships. It will also work with businesses and educators to expose students to occupational possibilities and to encourage them to build careers in NH.

“We are thrilled about this partnership,” said NH Charitable Foundation Vice President Katie Merrow. “New Hampshire needs to increase youth opportunity so all of our kids get the education, training, and guidance they need to grow into productive adults who will contribute to our communities and sustain our economy into the future. And our employers need an educated and well-trained workforce so they can continue to succeed, stay in New Hampshire, and keep our economy and communities strong.”

The BIA will add a new position, director of workforce development, to oversee Workforce Accelerator 2025, beginning in January. Initial funding comes from the BIA, the Charitable Foundation and Fidelity Investments through partners are seeking additional funders```.

“The alliance of businesses, government, and colleges and universities is critical to ensure that we develop a workforce, both today and in the future, that is well educated and well prepared, and embraces the real career opportunities that exist here,” said Joe Murray, vice president of public affairs for Fidelity in Merrimack. “We hope additional businesses will see the value in this work and invest in its success.”

The BIA and the Charitable Foundation have a track record of working together. The two organizations were chief architects of Leadership New Hampshire, which has graduated more than 850 people from its leadership development programs since 1993.

The Business & Industry Association is NH’s statewide chamber of commerce and business advocate. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is NH’s statewide community foundation.

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