Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth on Thursday evening hosted a reception for Seacoast area civic and business movers and shakers to meet Jeffrey Rose, the state’s newest commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED).
The reception of about 50 invited guests not only gave Rose the chance to mingle, but it gave him and GBCC President Will Arvelo the chance to talk about various partnerships that help prepare students for the kinds of jobs that Granite State employers are offering.
Paul Holloway, of the Holloway Auto Group and chairman of the N.H. Community College System, led off the remarks by describing community colleges as “the backbone of the state” when it comes to current and future economic development.
He noted from a demographic standpoint that New Hampshire is getting older, and he encouraged the state to put an emphasis on keeping its young people. He advocated for more affordable housing and less 55-plus housing.
Arvelo gave examples of a couple of state-administered programs -- including the N.H. Job Training Fund and WorkReady New Hampshire.
He said the training fund since 2008 has supplied $1.5 million in grants, half of which has gone to training community college students throughout the state.
And over the last two years, Arvelo said about 1,600 community college students statewide have participated in the WorkReady program, 400 of them from Great Bay.
“One of the reasons I wanted to have this event tonight is really to honor and celebrate that partnership that we have had over the last few years that we will continue to have for the next few years into the future because we know that partnership is critical to meeting our mission,” he said.
Rose described his role of DRED commissioner as “protector, promoter, and provider for the state.”
He noted that the community college system can develop curriculum to help New Hampshire businesses meet their specific needs and, at the same time, help market the state to attract more high tech companies.
“One of the things that is great is the agility and responsiveness the community college system has to meet those needs. There are great programs that are taking place throughout the state,” said Rose.
Paul Briand is an editor with the Live Free or Die Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages the discussion and analysis of New Hampshire politics and policies.