By Hadley Barndollar
Sen. Maggie Hassan visited Exeter Hospital Monday in an effort to put real faces and issues behind her recently introduced Gateway to Careers Act, which would assist New Hampshire in workforce development.
… Hassan said she continues to hear from businesses around the state how important workforce development is. The Gateway to Careers Act would support individuals who are unemployed or underemployed by strengthening job training and removing barriers that prevent them from completing a degree or credential program and succeeding in the workforce, including housing, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assistance in obtaining health insurance coverage, career counseling, childcare and transportation.
The bill also seeks to establish accelerated learning options that would allow people to earn credits and industry-recognized credentials more quickly. This would be made possible by federal grants to support partnerships between community or technical colleges and workforce development partners.
Hassan said many businesses and entities are saying they are finding people with potential, who have an added barrier that prevents them from achieving the needed credential to enter a technical skills field.
“There is a tremendous pull that we can have by opening up our community hospitals to more educational opportunities,” said Dr. Rich Hollister, emphasizing the importance of allowing people to train at hospitals with the potential of hiring them after their training is complete.
…Lots of people want to change careers or get that next credential but stopping income is not an option,” Hassan said of programs around the state that allow for flexible classroom time.
Hassan’s Gateway to Careers Act comes at a time when many are calling on New Hampshire to address its demographics crisis, with not enough young. qualified workers coming to the state as a result of an aging population.