Milford set to create new course

MILFORD – For several months, staff at Milford High School have been working with local companies to launch a new program that will prepare students for jobs in the manufacturing field.

Starting next year, eligible juniors and seniors will be able to sign up for the Manufacturing Exploration & Externship program. This program offers a variety of benefits for students. Though the planners have not completely finalized details, they plan to have students spend the first five weeks of their semester in the classroom learning about safety skills and preparing to go into the field. Students will then spend the remaining part of their semester working directly in the field at Spraying Systems Co. in Merrimack and Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., Inc. in Milford and at Manchester Community College. They plan on having students spend 90-plus hours in the field.

On Thursday, the program was further discussed in a meeting at Milford High School with those who are involved. Attendees included Milford High School students, teachers, directors and administrators, a school board member, representatives from the three partners, representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan, Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and more.

Frank Xydias, an engineering teacher in the school’s Applied Technology Center, said students in the class will be split up into three groups and will rotate through each location, and will get hands-on experience learning about different facets of manufacturing. Students will also earn $12 an hour for their work in the field, along with six college credits.

Richard Paiva, director of technical studies at Milford High School, said they’ve had successful internship programs out of the Applied Technology Center, and now the next step is to embed it into a class.

What students learn in the field will go hand in hand with what they have learned in the high school’s Applied Technology Center’s machining and engineering programs. They will be able to further discuss what they are doing in the field each week. They will spend multiple days off-site at the manufacturing companies and multiple days in the classroom.

Xydias said learning is exponential when students are taken out of the classroom.

“(Students) may drive by the three manufacturers and don’t know what’s goes on behind that door. This is taking down those walls between the community and school,” Xydias said.

The group plans to host an open house and company field trips for prospective students and their families in February and April. More information will be available in February.

Grace Pecci may be contacted at 594-1243 or