Manufacturing and machining course to return to Nashua

Proponents of program’s revival point to industry’s need for workers

NASHUA – A machining and manufacturing course will be returning to the Nashua Technology Center after a three-year absence.

Proponents of the program presented to the Board of Education Monday night, highlighting the course’s apparent benefits, with alumni, students and local field leaders in attendance.

Amanda Bastoni, director of Career Technical Education in the district said during the presentation that there are nearly 70,000 jobs in manufacturing in the state, with 37 percent of those in Hillsborough County alone. In the area, she said, entry level workers in the industry can earn more than $18 per hour, while experienced employees can earn between $21 and $31 per hour.

Mark Dodge, a professor at Nashua Community College, said the “need for people who are skilled in this trade is going to get exponentially bigger.”

In one of many letters of support for the program, Dodge wrote, “With an aging workforce, more and more manufacturing jobs open every day. Not every student can or should be expected to go to a four-year college.”

“This important program has been sidelined for almost three years, far too long for a program of this nature,” he added.

Elizabeth Van Twuyver and Howard Coffman both sang their praises for their program.

In fact, Coffman called the proposed five-year plan “unacceptable,”

saying he felt it was important to get the program up and running as soon as possible.

Dan Villemaire, president of C&M Machine Products in Hudson said in another letter of support that the machining program “has the opportunity to be a tremendous pipeline of talent to Southern New Hampshire’s manufacturing hot bed.”

Before the meeting, Bastoni said the program will hopefully be ready next year; the machines are “up and running” and there are students already interested the course.

The hope, she said during the meeting, would ultimately be to manufacture the parts for the robotics lab and the upcoming drone course, to help some of the other CTE programs and bring everything full circle.

A current Perkins grant would allow the machines to turn on in September, and an updated grant would include upgrades to the current machines, which still use floppy disks, she said, to laughter from the board and audience.

The next step in the process is to find a teacher for the program.

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com