New Hampshire’s senior United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen met with community and business leaders Monday morning to discuss ongoing job-training efforts at River Valley Community College.
The college is entering into partnerships with manufacturing companies, including Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc., in an effort to train workers. Shaheen said this is essential for the economy.
“I think what we’ve got to do more of in America is make things,” she said.
River Valley President Alicia Harvey-Smith said the college has been able to take advantage of opportunities like the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant to build partnerships and put together programs for specific industries.
The college has been running a two-week training program for all new hires at Sturm Ruger, and it is about to launch an apprenticeship program for the gun manufacturer’s employees, said Kelly Roe, the TAACCCT grant coordinator for River Valley.
According to U.S. Department of Labor, “TAACCCT provides institutions with the resources to partner with local companies and deliver career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, ultimately helping New Hampshire develop a talented and skilled workforce able to meet future economic demand.”
The programs being developed at River Valley are good for businesses that are here, and are good for the city, as it markets itself to more businesses, explained Zac Williams, a representative of Claremont’s Planning and Development Office.
“It’s a huge asset for us,” Williams said.
Tammy Esmaili, a human resources generalist at Sturm Ruger said the company was losing new employees after they were unable to perform basic functions of the job. After speaking with the college earlier this year, the two-week program was launched to train employees in math and manufacturing basics, while also teaching necessary soft skills, such as communication.
Mike Butler, Sturm Ruger’s human resources director, said the college is able to help get the new hires on the right track, as well as give them the opportunity to further their educations and their careers. He said the company wants an educated work force.
“This give the employees the idea [that] they need to learn in order to move forward, and not just pull a drill press all day,” Butler said.
Shaheen, who worked in a shoe factory during her college years, said with changes to the economy, young people and families need to know about the new opportunities in the manufacturing sector.