FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Clayton
VP, Communications
603-415-4255

Efforts by New Hampshire's community colleges and university system to bolster the emphasis on science and technology drew plaudits from the New Hampshire Hospital Association today.

"Speaking on behalf of New Hampshire's 32 acute care community, rehabilitation and specialty hospitals, we could not be more supportive of the need for educating and graduating high quality candidates for challenging and rewarding careers, including those in health care," said NHHA President Steve Ahnen.

"In pledging to increase by 50 percent the number of science, technology, engineering and math graduates by 2020, the state's higher education community has made certain that well-prepared candidates will be there to help us to sustain and expand our allied health organizations."

In a press conference held in Concord earlier today, New Hampshire's public higher education systems made an historic pledge to work together for:

  • Creation of new transfer pathways for students in STEM fields
  • Collaboration on program development and delivery
  • Promotion of STEM career opportunities
  • Sharing of facilities, equipment, technology, and staff and faculty expertise
  • Identification of resources to support STEM field education
  • A commitment to expand access to education and opportunities in STEM fields for all state residents, across all regions of the state and all socio-economic groups
  • Other initiatives in partnership with NH employers.

The University System of New Hampshire and Community College System of NH have committed to efforts to increase by 50% the number of STEM educated graduates by 2020 and double that number by 2025. The letter of commitment was formally signed in the Executive Council Chamber on Tuesday May 15 at 8:30 AM by the seven Community College presidents and the four University System of NH presidents and the chancellors of both systems, with the participation of Governor John Lynch and representatives of industry and K-12 education. Officials alsol outlined the workforce challenges facing the state and described efforts to meet the goals of increasing the number of STEM graduates from New Hampshire institutions.

While New Hampshire consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the percentages of adults with associates, bachelors and graduate degrees, the state is not as well-positioned in the percentages of post-secondary degree holders in science and engineering, including ranking 30th nationally in the percentage of bachelor degree graduates in these critical areas.

Many hiring officials in New Hampshire say a greater number of people with STEM-related credentials and skills are needed in the workforce and job applicant pool. Businesses in advanced manufacturing and other industries have job openings available for engineers, scientists and skilled technicians but, an appropriately skilled supply of workers is not readily available.

The immediate gap is being addressed by some innovative collaborative efforts between community college and university system institutions and individual businesses, such as with Albany Engineered Composites (Rochester) and Hypertherm (Lebanon) but there is a strong need to scale up these efforts and to address the long-term pipeline of skilled engineers, scientists and technicians available across a range of industries.

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