Continuing to keep jobs and the economy as his top priority, Governor John Lynch today officially launched a new job skills training program, the third and final component of New Hampshire Working, his innovative jobs initiative.
The Work Ready NH program, which is being administered through the Community College System, will address gaps in worker readiness in the areas of math, reading and problem solving. It will also address so-called "soft skills" such as workplace behaviors, teamwork and ethical behavior.
The program was developed after hearing directly from business leaders through Governor Lynch's series of Jobs Cabinet Roundtables held across the state.
"As Governor, my number one focus continues to be jobs and the economy. Our unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation, but I will not rest until everyone who wants a job in New Hampshire can get a job," Governor Lynch said.
"Our businesses and our economy need a skilled and educated workforce in order to grow. With Work Ready New Hampshire, we are helping ensure that our citizens have the skills necessary to compete for good jobs, and to continue to attract new jobs to New Hampshire," Governor Lynch said.
Unemployed workers who choose to participate in Work Ready, will receive take a test assessing their skills, and remedial training in basic areas where necessary. Upon completion they will receive a nationally recognized certification, which they can take to potential employers, giving business owners confidence that new hires will have the necessary skills they are looking for.
Governor Lynch launched Work Ready at Great Bay Community College, one of four pilot sites. The other three pilot sites are the River Valley, White Mountain and Manchester community colleges. He was joined by Community College System of New Hampshire Interim Chancellor Bonnie Newman, Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald, Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon and state and local employment and economic development officials.
"Job-seekers can look to New Hampshire's community colleges and the Work Ready New Hampshire program for an accessible, convenient and effective way to achieve the goal of getting back to work. We listened when employers described the skills they need to see in their job applicants, and we shaped a program to help people prepare for the job search and be successful once they are hired," said Bonnie Newman, interim chancellor of the Community College System. "The Work Ready NH program is a win-win for those individuals seeking jobs and those businesses seeking well-qualified employees."
Work Ready is the final component of New Hampshire Working, a three-part initiative introduced by Governor Lynch last year. It is designed to help companies and workers avoid layoffs, help unemployed workers return to work and the third and final part, provide training to help workers get new jobs. Under the first part of New Hampshire Working, the state is able to partner with businesses and workers to provide an alternative to layoffs. Companies and workers agree to reduced hours instead of layoffs, and the state makes up part of the lost wages for workers through unemployment benefits.
Workers will keep their jobs, their health insurance and most of their income. Companies will be able to retain the skilled workers they need to recover, and taxpayers will avoid increased costs as the demand for state services increases as unemployment rises. This part of New Hampshire Working is modeled after successful job-share programs in other states.
The second part of New Hampshire Working reduces upfront training costs for companies - often an impediment to hiring - and is providing on-the-job training to help workers get new jobs. Unemployed workers are able to continue to receive unemployment benefits while participating in up to six weeks of training at a potential new employer. A company has until the end of that period to decide if a worker has the skills the business needs.