2017-02-03 / Local

RVCC, Hypertherm partner to give students hands-on experience

CLAREMONT — River Valley Community College (RVCC) and Hypertherm are again joining forces with a program to teach under-and unemployed workers the skills needed for careers in advanced manufacturing and other high tech occupations.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-1 B program, the partnership is administered by RVCC through the Hypertherm Technical Training Institute, (HTTI) which functions as an RVCC satellite campus for this initiative. The USDOL’s H-1B program also authorizes temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.

“This partnership is a win for students, advanced manufacturing businesses and New Hampshire’s economic development,” Scott Lazzaro, H1B program director. “The hands-on training and introduction to one of the state’s leading high tech companies connects students to high-paying jobs and career paths with limitless potential.”

The training is condensed into a high intensity, nine-week, 40-hour-per-week schedule. Graduates earn an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate, along with 28 academic credits that can be applied towards an Engineering Technology Associates Degree at RVCC.

After initial testing administered by RVCC, students are enrolled in the RVCC/Hypertherm Skills Through Apprenticeship Retraining (STAR) Program and are hired on as full time employees the day they begin classes at HTTI, which also marks the beginning of a two-year state-recognized apprenticeship.

A well-educated and relevant workforce is the lynchpin for a healthy advanced manufacturing landscape in New Hampshire, a topic that has been top of mind for analysts, educators, economists and employers alike. Affordable options, such as those offered via CCSNH across the state, are working to close the skills gap through creative workforce training opportunities.

“We believe that this partnership not only provides opportunities to the students to upgrade their skillsets, it also allows students to earn college credits after successful completion of the training,” said Ali Rafieymehr, interim president at River Valley Community College.

RVCC and Hypertherm’s program, which began in 2008, has helped more than 400 people obtain the skills needed to secure quality jobs in a field notoriously lacking a skilled workforce. Upon completing the program, students graduate with a RVCC certificate, and may choose to continue their studies to pursue an associate’s degree.

“We are fortunate to have the challenge of expanding our workforce and elevating the skillset. Our future success will be measured in part by how well we are able to hire, develop and grow our skilled workforce," Mike Baymiller, Hypertherm VP of human resources.

To learn more about RVCC or apply to any of its academic programs, visit rvcc.edu or contact H1B Grant Coordinator and Advanced Machine Tool Technology Director Scott Lazzarro at (800) 837-0658 ext. 5429 or slazzaro@ccsnh.edu.

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