August 4, 2022

Prompts PNSY to Adopt/Develop as Part of Own Professional Development Initiative

PORTSMOUTH – Great Bay Community College partnered with Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the soft skills training program WorkReadyNH to further train shipyard employees about workplace civility, conflict management, and effective communication skills.

With funding from the AACC (American Association of Community Colleges) Grant, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard enrolled more than 150 employees from its Trades Apprentice and Worker Skills Progression Program in a series of 8-day sessions at Great Bay Community College Portsmouth campus from September 2021 to June 2022. Shipyard employees learned skills to help foster a conflict-free work environment, with positive relationships and respectful behavior among employees.

Prior to the in-person classes at Great Bay, the program involved instructors from Manchester and River Valley community colleges teaching classes online, beginning in January 2021. Over 18 months of online and in-person classes, 329 shipyard employees have completed the 8-day sessions, said Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Training Specialist Juliet Freeman.

“The program has assisted with our focus on the ‘whole person development initiative,’” Freeman said. “Over the last few years, we have been expanding our professional development as a way for employees to grow in their careers here at the Shipyard.”

Participants completed independent work, group work, and classroom discussion about such topics as team building, conflict resolution, collaboration, and public speaking. The program also included a section on mock interviews tailored to reflect the interview process at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The funding from the AACC Grant has expired, but a new iteration of the class will continue in the summer at Great Bay’s Portsmouth campus.

“As we transition into a new phase of the program and away from the grant-funding initiative, it will be a 40-hour program starting with our next session. The name of this phase will be Workplace Skills, but the content will remain largely the same,” Freeman said.

Dawn Hamdi, WorkReadyNH Director at Great Bay Community College, said the positive outcome of the collaboration with the shipyard illustrates the ability of WorkReadyNH to transform the New Hampshire workforce by teaching skills that help employees thrive.

“The feedback we received from the employees is that they loved being at the college. They felt the environment was engaging and supportive for having the kinds of conversations we were having in class,” Hamdi said.

WorkReadyNH, a tuition-free program available to NH residents who are 16+ years of age, is designed to meet the needs of job seekers and career builders by providing training in specific skills that employers are looking for in their current and future employees, Hamdi said.