October 5, 2011

by Charles McMahon

PORTSMOUTH – Gov. John Lynch on Tuesday officially launched a new job training program at Great Bay Community College.

With 15 months left until the end of his final term as governor, Lynch, who will not seek re-election, promised he would continue to make jobs and the economy his top priorities.

Through the WorkReady NH program, which is the third and final component of his NH Working jobs initiative, Lynch said the state will continue to prosper through the development of highly trained and skilled workers.

“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,” Lynch said.

Lynch said the program was developed after hearing directly from business leaders through a series of his Jobs Cabinet Roundtables held across the state over the last few years.

The program is being administered through the Community College System. It is designed to address gaps in worker readiness in the areas of math, reading and problem solving, in addition to skills involving work place behaviors, teamwork and ethical behavior.

Unemployed people who choose to participate in the program will take a test assessing their skills and receive remedial training in basic areas. Upon completion, prospective workers will receive a nationally recognized certification, which they can show to potential employers, thereby giving business owners more confidence to hire them.

“Our businesses and our economy need a skilled and educated work force in order to grow,” Lynch said. “We are helping ensure that our citizens have the skills necessary to complete for good job, and to continue to attract new jobs to New Hampshire.”

Joining Lynch for the launch was Community College System Chancellor Bonnie Newman, Commissioner Tara Reardon of N.H. Dept of Employment Securities and Commissioner George Bald of Department of Resources and Economic Development.

Newman said integrating the program into the community college system makes sense.

“I truly believe that the work of the community colleges is the heart and soul of what we see in the WorkReady NH program,” Newman said. “Our mission as a system is to help educate and train an effective work force in New Hampshire.”

Newman said the program’s first client began the process on Tuesday.

Reardon said the state’s unemployment rate is 5.3 percent, which she said leaves about 38,000 residents who are unemployed and want a job. She said more people are underemployed.

Bald said finding jobs for residents through the new program should be important to everyone in the state.

“This program will really help to get more people in the work force and that makes a real difference in somebody’s life,” he said.