Proposed apprenticeship program would launch in 4 school districts including Manchester, for starters

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Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has indicated an interest in expanding the initiative to other schools in the future. File Photo/Carol Robidoux

Story Produced by New Hampshire Bulletin

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire’s Department of Education is pushing for a new approach to improve the pipeline from high school to industries, starting with four “pilot” school districts.

In a request before the Executive Council this month, the department is seeking approval for a federally-funded program that would allow students in Conway, Hinsdale, Laconia, and Manchester to enter into an apprenticeship program following high school graduation.

The program, funded by the Out-of-School Time Career Pathway Grant program and intended to be run by the New Hampshire Learning Initiative, would use $1.7 million over two years to develop “expanded learning programs.”

Those programs would allow students to earn “a recognized postsecondary credential” that could follow an apprenticeship or an “industry-recognized certification,” according to a proposal presented to the council by New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

Students in the schools could partner with Brattleboro, Vt.-based G.S. Precision; Fryeberg, Maine-based Eastern Slopes Aviation; Londonderry-based Aviation Museum of New Hampshire; Northwood-based EPTAM Precision Solutions; or Jaffrey-based Graphicast, Edelblut said. The initiative would cover internships and apprenticeships within those companies.

The four school districts have been billed as “pilot schools,” but Edelblut has indicated an interest in expanding the initiative to other schools in the future.

This week’s Sept. 1 Executive Council meeting was postponed after Gov. Chris Sununu announced he had flu-like symptoms and was canceling the meeting out of caution. Sununu’s office has since said that he has tested negative for COVID-19.