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Hassan talks workforce partnerships

By ADAM URQUHART - Staff Writer | Jan 5, 2020

HUDSON – Training partnerships can benefit a business and its employees, and in recognizing the rapid pace in which the economy is changing work environments at many companies, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is working to expand upon such partnerships to both strengthen the workforce.

In spring 2019, Hassan reintroduced the bipartisan Gateway to Careers Act, which supports innovative businesses by helping them hire the workforce they need through career pathways strategies. This includes work, education and support services, all geared toward helping potential employees earn recognized postsecondary credentials. Including Hassan, two Democrats and two Republicans are sponsoring the bill.

On Friday, Hassan toured Omni Components Corp. in Hudson, as she met with employees and heard from company officials about their existing workforce partnerships, while also discussing the act. Omni is already partnering with Nashua Community College to help build a workforce.

“Really, we’re all going to continue to learn, so we have to have a system that makes it easy for somebody who’s working to go get that next credential without having to interrupt their income flow – and make it pretty easy,” Hassan said.

The bill aims to strengthen job training by supporting workforce programs at community and technical colleges, including accelerated learning options that allow students to earn credits and postsecondary-recognized credentials in a timely manner. It also removes barriers that prevent people from entering or remaining in the workforce by connecting them to services such as housing, childcare and assistance in obtaining health insurance coverage.

The bill aims to provide grants for workforce and educator collaborations to meet employers’ needs, while making sure that students get real skills in high-quality programs.

“I think what it will do is, we will get more students into the apprenticeship programs and seeing also that there’s a pathway not only through that way, but also that they can go on to higher education, and or go in the workforce or both,” NCC President Lucille Jordan said. “So, that’s where I think it will help, and I think it will help Omni a great deal.”

“There’s nice bipartisan recognition that these kind of workforce training partnerships really make a difference,” Hassan said. “Not only do they work for business, but as Lucille and I were just talking about, they make a difference in people’s lives.”

The majority of what Omni produces is medical related, but the company also works with commercial high-tech, telecommunications, optical, instrumentation and electronics industries. In addition to precision machining, they also provide laser marking, drill pointing and particle blasting. Omni has been serving the high-precision components industry for more than 40 years.

“We formed two key partnerships with UMass Lowell (University of Massachusetts Lowell) and Nashua Community College, and then, two recent partnerships with the Greater Lowell Voc (Greater Lowell Technical High School) and MY TURN,” Omni President and CEO Frank Stone said.

In the last seven years or so, Stone said Omni has hired about 10 people from NCC to work for the corporation. Stone also said they have four individuals from Windham High School working on programming, inspection, assembly and operations.

In total, Omni employees 95 people, having expanded in Frisco, Texas in 2019. The corporation transplanted five individuals from their headquarters in Hudson to lead that effort.

“I think anything the senator can do to retain our talent so it’s not an exit state for young individuals is very important,” Stone added of Hassan.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.


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