LONDONDERRY – In case you missed it, Senator Hassan toured high-tech defense manufacturer L3Harris Technology and spoke with senior leadership about efforts to support New Hampshire businesses.
Recently, Senator Hassan helped secure funding that will support L3Harris’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggle – Binocular program, helping to ensure that the company can continue to support the service members in need of this equipment. Additionally, Senator Hassan and colleagues last year passed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, which is strengthening our economic and national security. The law is helping to support our supply chains, lower costs, and ensure that America can outcompete countries like China by investing in research and manufacturing here at home.
The Union Leader outlined Senator Hassan’s visit, as well as additional efforts to strengthen workforce development in New Hampshire.
See below for highlights:
By Michael Cousineau
In a nearly darkened room not far from Manchester’s airport, Sen. Maggie Hassan was the only one who could see.
She first donned a night-vision monoscope used to protect American troops, then swapped that out for a more advanced night-vision goggle-binoculars that could pick up an enemy’s thermal image.
“Oh my gosh! This is like night and day,” the senator told employees of defense contractor L3Harris, which has increased its workforce by about 5% since 2019.
The state is expected to see brighter employment numbers this decade, as the state projects to add 7.5% more jobs in the decade ending in 2030, according to a state report.
[…] L3Harris operates two buildings in Londonderry. Both offer dedicated wall space with the words “My Why” containing scores of messages from workers explaining why they work at the defense contractor.
[…] Hassan, who had donned a camouflage smock while touring the manufacturing floor, paused at the wall at the Akira Way building to read several entries.
“I was moved by it, because it really in a lot different ways what I saw on that wall was people expressing how grateful they were to have a job where they can make a difference for our war fighters and for our country and for the world, because protecting democracy is so important,” Hassan said during an interview after touring the plant and talking with employees.
“They also clearly appreciate working for a good company and being able to support their families, which is what business growth is all about, so it was really impressive to see people combining that appreciation that they’re making a difference here with also the pride in their work and the pride in being able to support their families,” she said.
About 70% of L3Harris’s New Hampshire work is tied to the defense industry. The company would not assign a dollar figure to that work.
Hassan mentioned helping secure hundreds of millions of dollars in the last federal budget to buy advanced night-vision goggle-binoculars from two companies.
L3Harris could get somewhere around $150 million for its work in Londonderry, according to Chad Theroux, senior director of program management.
[…] Hassan said company visits such as the one to L3Harris allows her to take the temperature of the state’s economy and learn ways to expand its workforce.
She likes to ask workers what paths they took to secure their current roles.
“I’m trying to get a sense of how we can go about meeting workers where they are and training them up, given how quickly technology changes,” Hassan said.
She also learns what companies produce.
“Seeing products that are essential to human safety and public health and protecting our country, it is important for me to get a sense as we’re putting together funding packages about why things cost what they do, for instance, and what kind of technology is being used,” she said.
Talking to workers around the state helps shape her view of how to improve the pipeline to create future workers.
“We know there is a workforce shortage in addition to needing to train workers well and trying to make sure that we are being strategic when we talk about high school and post-secondary education and letting families and young people and even workers in established careers who might want to change what kind of opportunities there are,” Hassan said.
“It helps me do my job and make policy better,” she said.