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5 Questions with Michael Power, Office of Workforce Opportunity

Friday, October 30th, 2015

A business depends on its employees to carry out its mission and an enthusiastic, trained worker adds much value to that business. The Office of Workforce Opportunity brings together the employer and the employee through a number of resources and in today’s 5 Questions, Michael Power, community outreach administrator, explains OWO and what it can do for your business.

Power

Michael Power ~ Office of Workforce Opportunity

1. The Office of Workforce Opportunity oversees the New Hampshire Works/American Job Center System. What programs/services are offered to NH professionals through NH Works and the American Job Center System?

The 12 NH Works Centers/American Job Centers located throughout New Hampshire offer a variety of services to both employers and job seekers, from job search techniques to digital job matching and career counseling to job training. Whether you’re an unemployed high-school dropout and a college-educated experienced professional who suddenly finds themselves out of work, NH Works can bring resources together to address your employment needs.

If you are a professional establishing a start-up, our partnership of state agencies and community-based organizations can help you with tax credits, training new workers, or obtaining the appropriate permits.

It’s important to remember that NH Works is not an agency, but a consortium of agencies, a team dedicated to bringing its resources to help strengthen New Hampshire’s economy. The partnership includes the Office of Workforce Opportunity in the Department of Resources and Economic Development; the Division of Economic Development, also in DRED; the Department of Education; NH Employment Security; Health and Human Resources; the Community College System of New Hampshire and the state’s Community Action agencies. We share our resources to address the needs of workers, job seekers and employers.

2. The vision of OWO is to “serve as a catalyst to establish a secure and sustainable workforce” and “provide a competitive advantage for New Hampshire businesses.” How does OWO fulfill that on a daily basis?

OWO is funded by the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, with guidelines and restrictions on exactly how we utilize our funds. We have a State Workforce Investment Board, a kind of board of directors that oversee our operations and sets specific goals to address New Hampshire workforce needs. The SWIB is appointed by the governor and over half of its 40-membership must come from private industry. As a result, we’re industry-led when determining what targets we should have to establish a successful workforce in New Hampshire.

On a daily basis, that means working with industry to develop career pathways that will build sustainable pipelines for the workers needed by our industries, from hospitality to advanced manufacturing to healthcare. On the worker side, we assist job seekers, from youth to dislocated workers, to discover career paths that will enable them to be productive and contributing members of society – and that includes training funds to help them get the skills they need. We even fund youth programs to address at-risk students.

3. Why do you believe New Hampshire is a terrific place for people to work, live, and grow professionally?

First, quality of life. We’re the safest, healthiest place in America to live, especially for kids. Also, it has incredible natural resources. In addition, we’re small in terms of population, so it’s relatively easy to get to know the people you need to know in every sector of the economy. Our government officials are probably the most accessible in the nation. We’re frugal, so in both our government and private industry, we know how to stretch a buck, with very little waste. We have an entrepreneurial spirit, so there is creativity and a willingness to take a risk without fear of failing. We actually know our neighbors. We have a terrific educational system, especially at the community college level, where we really shine. There is room to succeed in New Hampshire if you dare to be great at whatever you want to do. That’s why the  Stay Work Play  organization is so important to New Hampshire.

4. Can you share a brief story or two about how OWO helps businesses in the state?

Employers can get confused when they run up against regulations and statutes and rules they are not familiar dealing with their business, and OWO, with its partners in the NH Works system, can stop the bureaucratic runaround of never-ending phone calls and unanswered emails. Because we really depend on a customer-friendly approach, we can find the answer, or locate the appropriate official to help address a business’s question.

In addition, we can walk through programs that the business has likely not heard about – like the Return to Work program that allows an employer to try out a perspective employee for free (even worker compensation costs), or the On-the-Job training program that can cover a significant amount of a new employee in training’s salary.

In short, personalized service that is unheard of in other states. We also administer the $1 million dollar Job Training Fund, a 1:1 matching fund to upgrade worker skills. The Job Training Fund has helped offer training to 25,000 workers in the past decade, generating nearly $20 million in new training programs. And….it’s user-friendly.

5. What’s new or exciting coming up on the horizon for OWO?

Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, the new federal legislation under which we are working, we’re initiating new sector strategies, a program that places all the stakeholders of important industry sectors together at the table to discuss and design practices and programs that will create sustainable pipelines of new workers for that industry.

When we find ourselves in a labor shortage in particular industries, like manufacturing, and it does no good for companies to merely steal workers from each other. We need to collaborate with industry leaders, educational facilities, workforce agencies and others in the community to design long-lasting career pathways that help bring more people into the middle class while providing our employers with the opportunity to grow.

Slattery Appointed to the CDBG Advisory Board

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The NH Community Development Finance Authority announces that Justin Slattery has been appointed to CDFA’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board. Slattery, a Business Resource Specialist with the state Department of Resources and Economic Development, will help approve New Hampshire grant requests for federal CDBG funds. 

NH Division of Economic Development Business Resource Specialist Justin Slattery

“We’re pleased to have someone of Justin’s caliber on the Advisory Board,” said CDFA Executive Director Kathy Bogle Shields. “Justin will bring his extensive experience in business and workforce investment to the board, which will help insure quality economic development projects are approved.” 

Last year, CDBG economic development grants in NH assisted 26 businesses, 133 microenterprises, created 304 jobs, and retained another 50 jobs. CDBG housing grants serviced 418 units, 127 which were elderly occupied.  Every CDBG dollar invested leveraged another $5.28 in private funds. 

“I’m honored to represent the NH Division of Economic Development on the CDBG Advisory Board,” said Slattery. “I’ve worked with many businesses in the state and I’ve seen firsthand how a Community Development Block Grant can lead to economic growth and job creation.” 

A Pelham native and a 2003 UNH graduate, Slattery has been with the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development since 2010. Before that he worked with NH Works/Workforce Investment Act, HireVision Staffing, and was Director of Citizen Services for Governor John Lynch. He and his wife Amy live in Goffstown. 

The CDBG Advisory Board approves $8-10 million in grants annually for housing/public facilities and economic development projects for NH municipalities and counties.  Community Development Block Grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered in New Hampshire by the Community Development Finance Authority. 

CDBG has been hailed by the US Conference of Mayors and by the Council of State Community Development Agencies as “the Federal Government’s most successful domestic program.”

“Teachers in Transition” Page Launched

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

A web page dedicated to helping teachers and other educational professionals facing layoffs has been launched on the state’s job training web site.

George Bald, Commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, said the new page contains valuable information and referral links to assist teachers, paraprofessionals and others who are being laid off due to reduced local school budgets.

The web page, titled “Teachers in Transition” is at www.nhworks.org. It can also be found on the web site of NH Employment Security at http://www.nh.gov/nhes/.

“Many teachers and paraprofessionals are facing uncertain times and often do not know there are other opportunities outside the teaching profession that they may be qualified to pursue,” said Bald. “Teachers in Transition helps provide information on services they may want to access, including unemployment benefits, job match and job search services and links to help them consider other career fields, such as social services, technical fields, adult literacy, counseling, training and health care.

“We want teachers, paraprofessionals and others who may face layoffs due to local budget cuts that there are opportunities in other fields, and the Teachers in Transition web page helps with the immediate tasks of filing for unemployment benefits as well as finding new career paths,” said Tara Reardon, Commissioner of NH Employment Security.

The site also contains referral links to training programs in the state, and links to the public and private post-secondary institutions in New Hampshire, according to Jackie Heuser, Director of the Office of Workforce Opportunity.

The web page was developed by the Office of Workforce Opportunity and its workforce development partner agency, NH Employment Security.

“We still urge those facing employment challenges to visit their local NH Works Career Center,” said Heuser. There are 13 local NH Works Centers located throughout New Hampshire.

State of NH and Local Businesses Get Creative to Help Job Seekers

Friday, August 27th, 2010

We received a great account of Wednesday night’s Gainful Employment Seminar held by our friends at Savvy Workshop.  Special thanks to Print Savvy President Lisa Landry for sending along this release as well as for offering such an excellent resource for citizens looking for work.

STATE OF NH AND LOCAL BUSINESSES GET CREATIVE TO HELP JOB SEEKERS

By all accounts, last night’s Gainful Employment Seminar at Savvy Workshop was a huge success. Initiated by Lisa Landry, President and CEO of Print Savvy, Inc. and the Savvy Workshop, the meeting was well attended and facilitated by Fran Allain, Employee Retention Project Manager for the State of New Hampshire’s Division of Economic Development.

NH Division of Economic Development Employee Retention Project Manager Fran Allains shares her experiences with local job seekers.

NH Division of Economic Development Employee Retention Project Manager Fran Allains shares her experiences with local job seekers.

Fran shared her heart-wrenching story about her own difficult layoff and her personal journey to finding meaningful employment again, after reinventing herself and her career. Having had the experience herself, she understands and empathizes with those affected by economic downturn. She gave us an overview of the programs, job boards and support systems available through the available through the State of New Hampshire, the NH Works offices and the Office of Workforce Opportunity to those currently looking for work.

Also on hand were Greg Fall, Vice President at Career Management Associates of Bedford, NH and Pam Oliwa, the Rapid Response Coordinator for the NH Office of Workforce Opportunity. Both Greg and Pam shared ideas and strategies for getting hired. Greg also gave an extensive class on resume development and met one on one with each candidate to discuss specific strategies that will help them to stand out and differentiate themselves from the crowded field of applicants that might be also seeking the same position.

Rapid Response Coordinator Pam Oliwa talks about resources available to help citizens pursue new career paths.

Rapid Response Coordinator Pam Oliwa talks about resources available to help citizens pursue new career paths.

Together, they explored the best ways to increase a job seeker’s value in the marketplace. Most attendees were unemployed an average of 18 months – but some as few as three or four weeks. Also in attendance were currently employed individuals, looking to make a change, recent college grads and underemployed professionals looking for more gainful employment.

“I’ve been in the job market for over 25 years, and this is definitely the most difficult job market I’ve ever seen,” said Lisa Landry. “My inbox has been flooded with resumes for the past two years. Most of these folks are talented, hard working, experienced professionals that I know and have worked with in the past. I wanted to do something to help them and to let them know their value is still there – and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!”

The Savvy Workshop will be hosting a second session to further support our friends and colleagues who are seeking gainful employment on Sept 8, 2010 from 6 – 9 PM. Dawn Cerrato of Synergy Management Associates will be presenting. Registrations are now being taken at http://www.gainfulemployment2.eventbrite.com.

Savvy Workshop is a multi-channel marketing organization, leveraging print, web, social media, email and event marketing to help our clients succeed. They can help you do it, too!

Savvy Workshop
55 So. Commercial Street
Manchester, NH 03101
http://www.savvyworkshop.com/

Slattery New Business Resource Specialist

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development has announced the hiring of Justin Slattery as Regional Business Resource Specialist.

justin-slatteryIn his new position, Slattery will plan and implement development strategies which will build economic opportunity for businesses in Cheshire, Sullivan and Grafton Counties. He will work hand in hand with companies on issues ranging from permitting and site selection to energy efficiency and workforce training while also providing strategic counsel to local community and economic development officials.

Slattery’s prior work assignments have included helping clients recruit and acquire acute talent in several high-tech disciplines, managing operations and human resources for a New Hampshire non-profit, working with individuals and companies statewide to access training and career counseling resources available through NH Works and the Workforce Investment Act and serving as Director of Citizen Services for Governor John Lynch focusing on economic development and labor projects. 

“Justin’s mix of public and private industry experience is a great advantage in understanding the needs of the business community and connecting companies with the resources they need to grow and succeed,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “He comes armed with a variety of experiences and a strong knowledge base that makes him a very valuable addition to our team.”

Slattery is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Political Science.  A New Hampshire native, he grew up in Pelham and currently resides in Goffstown with his wife, Amy.

Free Microsoft Training Offer Extended to General Public

Monday, June 28th, 2010

With the demand for skilled information technology workers continuing to rise, Microsoft is offering free training to help Granite Staters gain the certification necessary to score well paying jobs and pursue an upward career track.

microsoftThrough a special initiative, unemployed job seekers have been taking part in free Microsoft training and certification at the 13 NH Works Career Centers throughout the state. On July 1, the vouchers for this training become available on a first come first served basis to anyone 18 years or older.

New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy said the $1.7 million worth of training vouchers distributed through the Microsoft Elevate America initiative will improve the skills and resumes of job seekers taking advantage of the one-time offer.

“Employers have told us they are looking for employees with good computer skills and that it has been difficult to find potential employees with these critical attributes,” Duddy said. “The free training vouchers available at the NH Works Centers will help develop higher skills in Microsoft Office products, as well as some advanced Information Technology (IT) programs.” Duddy’s office launched the program last month in coordination with New Hampshire Employment Security.

The 5,675 vouchers offer training in Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 suites and several IT courses and provides free certification examinations.

Applicants fill out a simple form at a NH Works Center and will receive the free voucher via email or regular mail.

Vouchers must be activated by August 19. For more information, visit http://www.nhworks.org/elevate.cfm.

New Hampshire & Microsoft Make an Investment in Technology Training

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Governor John Lynch has announced that New Hampshire has joined forces with Microsoft in an innovative public-private partnership to provide free technology training to unemployed residents across the state.

Through Elevate America, Microsoft will work with the Office of Workforce Opportunity, Department of Resources and Economic Development, New Hampshire Employment Security and NH Works Career Centers to distribute 5,625 vouchers for free, online technology training and certification.

(L. to R.) NH Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon congratulates Penny Letourneau of Concord, the first recipient of an Elevate America technology training voucher as NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and Microsoft General Manager for State and Local Government John Bunn look on.

(L. to R.) NH Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon congratulates Penny Letourneau of Concord, the first recipient of an Elevate America technology training voucher as NH Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and Microsoft General Manager for State and Local Government John Bunn look on.

“Providing training for our workers is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Through my New Hampshire Working initiative and the Job Training Fund, we have made helping workers get the skills they need to get good jobs a priority,” Gov. Lynch said. “The Elevate America initiative is helping our continuing efforts to get workers the skills and certifications they need so we can help them get back to work.”

The first vouchers were recently distributed at the NH Works Center in Concord by George Bald, Commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, and Commissioner Tara Reardon of NH Employment Security. Joining Commissioners Bald and Reardon was John Bunn, Microsoft’s General Manager for State and Local Government.

The free vouchers are available to unemployed residents only until July 1, when vouchers will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. Vouchers must be activated by users by August 19, 2010.

Vouchers include 2,500 for Microsoft Business Certification Training; 2,500 vouchers for Microsoft Business Certification examinations, and 625 vouchers for advanced Microsoft IT Professional online learning.

“Elevate America helps people to get the critical technology skills they need to get a job in today’s competitive workplace,” said Microsoft’s Bunn. “We believe that this type of public-private partnership will play an important role in rebuilding New Hampshire’s and the nation’s economy by offering immediate access to basic technology literacy and skills training to ultimately improve recipients’ employment prospects.”

“Job seekers can use these online courses from their computers at home, and access the training for up to a year once activated,” said Employment Security Commissioner Tara Reardon. “Offering access to computer skills training will greatly improve recipients’ employment prospects.”

“Employers at our recent Governors Job Cabinet Roundtable discussions expressed the hope that today’s job applicants be trained in new technology skills, and this opportunity comes at an appropriate time, as employers begin to hire again,” said DRED Commissioner George Bald. “The Elevate America program will help New Hampshire companies remain competitive in today’s marketplace.”

Microsoft Elevate America vouchers can be obtained at the 13 local NH Works Centers throughout the state.

Vouchers can be used for the following training and certifications:
Computer Basics for Beginners – Access basic computer concepts and skills. Perfect for those new to computers. No voucher is required for the beginner courses.

Programs requiring vouchers:
Intermediate Level, Business Worker Online Learning – Select from: Microsoft Windows Vista, Office 2003 or Office 2007 online training. Voucher must be activated by July 26, 2010. E-Learning is accessible for 12 months from activation date.

Advanced Level IT Professional Online Learning – Select a training from Microsoft’s online learning library for IT Professionals and Developers. The cost of certification exams at this level is not covered by this program. Voucher must be activated by August 19, 2010.

Intermediate Level Certification Exams – Certification exams must be taken at a Certiport Testing Location. Select from Office 2003 or Office 2007 exams. Voucher must be activated by August 19, 2010. Certification exams must also be completed by August 19, 2010.

New Hampshire Certiport Examinations Centers are located at:
Blended Solutions Technical Institute
1000 Elm Street, Manchester N H 03101
603-622-4922
Contact: Cindy Kuehl (ckuehl@bstinh.com)

New Horizons of Northern New England
460 Amherst St., Nashua 03060
603-882-4900
Contact: Todd Duhamel (toddd@nhnashua.com)

ATI Institute of Rochester
35 Industrial Way, Suite 150, Rochester 03867
603-330-3533
Contact: Christina Dame (christina@smartati.com)

Manchester Community Resource Center
177 Lake Ave., Manchester 03103
603-647-8967
Contact: Fawn Francis (info@ontracktraining.org)

New Hampshire’s participation in Microsoft’s Elevate America program makes it the 22ndstate to take part in the initiative, which is expected to provide up to one million vouchers nationwide. The program is a part of Microsoft’s overall efforts to provide technology training for up to two million people during the next three years.

Microsoft announced the “Elevate America” program at the National Governor’s Conference in February 2009. The initiative is expected to provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select Microsoft certification exams at no or low cost to recipients. The program, part of Microsoft’s overall Unlimited Potential efforts to improve social and economic opportunities for people, will provide technology training for up to two million people during the next three years.

For additional information regarding Elevate America visit:
http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/us/communityinvestment/elevateamerica.aspx