NORTH CONWAY – In case you missed it, earlier this week Senator Hassan visited the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center at Kennett High School and Memorial Hospital to hear from them about successes and challenges, and discuss how federal legislation she has worked to pass will support their work.
At the MWV Career and Technical Center, the Senator heard from school administrators, teachers, and students about their advanced manufacturing and STEM programs, including their partnership with NASA. Senator Hassan helped secure $75 million in funding in the year-end government funding bill that will continue to support career and technical education programs such as Kennett High School’s.
At Memorial Hospital, Senator Hassan heard from hospital leaders about their successes and challenges as they continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The year-end funding bill included a measure that Senator Hassan pushed for to extend coverage of Medicare telehealth services through 2024. The administration also this month officially revoked the requirement that health care providers get a special “X-Waiver” to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, following the passage of her bill, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act.
Key coverage highlights from the events:
By Lloyd Jones
Students and staff at the MWV Career and Technical Center at Kennett High School rolled out the red carpet for Sen. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday morning. Director Virginia Schrader provided the senator with a hands look at what takes place inside the walls of KHS every day. Students are building parts for NASA, learning how to fly planes and learning real-world trades that will help these Eagles soar when they leave the nest.
“I had a great time visiting Kennett High School and meeting with students who are participating in their state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing and STEM aviation and aerospace programs,” said Sen. Hassan. “Career and technical education allows students to explore different career opportunities and jump-start their careers, setting them up for success after graduation — and helping businesses hire the workforce that they need.
"I am pleased that we increased funding to support career pathway programs in the year-end bill, and I will continue to work across the aisle to strengthen and expand these programs.”
Senior Ben Biche gave Hassan a tour of the advanced manufacturing room when the Eagles are working with the NASA HUNCH (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) program to build space hardware destined for the International Space Station.
“(Advanced manufacturing) is a four-year program, which gives us a chance to do a lot more than most other schools who often have a two-year deal because they serve multiple school districts,” Biche said, adding, “We were recognized by NASA as one of three schools recognized and certified by NASA to make life-critical flight hardware for the International Space Station.
Juniors Kaley Goodhart and Micah White were working on handrails parts for NASA and showed the senator the process.
Senior Noah Keefe, who along with recent graduates Sean Morgan and Kylan Morneau were among just five students nationwide to have been chosen by NASA to intern for six weeks last summer, presented Hassan with a paperweight in the shape of New Hampshire that they created in Houston.
Andy Shaw, the advanced manufacturing teacher, told Hassan that NASA has donated about $150,000 in manufacturing equipment including a $106,000 manufacturing lathe, which allows the students to create “five axis” parts.
[…] “I think NASA, but also the industry generally, is increasingly reaching out to schools, whether it's NASA or advanced manufacturers in Maine and New Hampshire they are wanting to help set up (programs) in schools,” Hassan said. “They want to make sure that the skills are aligned and that’s what we want to do with the Perkins Grant.”
She added: “I think, as you're showing me right now, this is where you get people really not only interested but they get hands-on experience. For years, I've been trying to get people to pay attention to this from a policy perspective. And it's now kind of a perfect storm moment. And I think COVID taught us a lot about what we need to be able to do ourselves, and so it's a pretty exciting time. There should be I hope, more Perkins Grant funding coming to Kennett.”
[…] Hassan was also given a tour of the STEM Aviation and Aerospace program, which is being taught by Joe Riddensdale, who also teaches CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) at KHS. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest aviation community, created the aviation STEM curriculum for high schools across the United States.
[…] Keefe and junior Molly DellaValla showed the senator the two flight simulators in the classroom. Both students, who are also members of the Eastern Slope Aviation Academy, are poised to complete their first solo flights at the Eastern Slope Regional Airport in Fryeburg, Maine, later this week.
DellaValla invited Hassan to try the simulator.
“I’ve never,” she said. “I have sat in the cockpit behind the pilots and watched them, especially with our National Guard, but not actually (flown a plane).”
Although maybe not ready for Top Gun school, Hassan did well in the simulator.
“You’re doing great,” said DellaValla. “I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want to scare you, but most people crash on their first attempt.
“Well, I had a good instructor,” Hassan said, adding, “That was so cool.”
Marketing students Joce Anzaldi and Kaia Chakravadhanula also served as guides for Sen. Hassan.
“I would say the best way for me to actually get funding for programs like this is to be able to talk to other senators and say, ‘Hey, have you been to your state's (Career-Tech Center), have you talked to students, this is what they need.’ And once we boil it down to real people and what they're doing, it gets easier for us to make policies that can support what you're doing. I’d love to see more programs like this in the state and I'd love to make sure that students at Kennett can participate at the level that makes sense.”
“I would just like to say thank you very much because I know it's your hard work that makes this all possible,” Schrader said. “You guys don't know what goes on behind the scenes to get the money to fund all this, so thank you.”
By Daymond Steer
The worker shortage is so profound that Memorial Hospital might have to purchase or build a place for its workers to live, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan learned Tuesday at a visit there.
Hassan came to Memorial to learn what its needs are and also to discuss several items of interest from Washington D.C., including that the Biden administration recently announced it will permanently allow the use of tele-health to prescribe buprenorphine, a critical medication to help treat opioid use disorder.
Prior to coming to the hospital, Hassan (D-NH) toured Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center at Kennett High School.
During the trip to the hospital, she met with senior leadership before touring the primary care and emergency departments. Lack of medical staff at the hospital and around the region has made life difficult in a variety of ways, the team explained. For example, they said Memorial can’t transfer patients to long-term care facilities because those facilities are understaffed as well. Meanwhile, the hospital is busy.
[…] Chief Nursing Officer Kris Dascoulias said the staffing issue has become so profound the hospital has mulled buying housing for its employees.
Hassan added that Dartmouth Hitchcock has purchased housing in Claremont for its employees.
“It speaks to the real challenge,” said Hassan.
[…] Mathisen said the hospital is looking at nearby land and the possibility of of creating affordable housing.
“I’ve put in some bills that would help, in particular states like New Hampshire, do federal matching when the state invest in workforce housing, along with some competitive grants to kind of come up with some creative ways to do workforce housing,” said Hassan. “Some of the tax incentive programs, while they’re good, and they’re important in places like New Hampshire, we don’t tend to build really large developments the same way some other places do.”
[…] At the conclusion of her visit, the Sun asked Hassan what her takeaways from her discussion with hospital leadership were. She said she was pleased to be here and glad to hear that COVID has relented compared to a year ago.
“It was really good to get a sense from them about the resources they need and the work we can do at the federal level to support them,” said Hassan adding she will continue to work on the staff and housing shortage issues.