Community College System Drives Youth Apprenticeship Development in New Hampshire

A Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) Network Feature
Blog Post
Photo courtesy of ApprenticeshipNH
Feb. 4, 2020

The Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship is featuring monthly profiles of our PAYA Network Members to explore how partnerships across the country are working to launch or expand high-quality youth apprenticeship programs that promote inclusive economic development and create new opportunities for young people.

Partnership: Youth ApprenticeshipNH
Location: Concord, NH
Lead Organization: Community College System of NH
Partners: NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs and NH Works Offices, NH Restaurant and Lodging, Spraying Systems Co., Great NH Restaurants, Eptam Plastics
Industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare

New Hampshire is aging. By 2030, one-third of the state’s population will be over 65 years old by the year 2030 making it the second oldest state in the nation. The Granite State’s workforce is in part a consequence of youth not sticking around. According to a survey of graduates from the University of New Hampshire, nearly half left the state for work after college.

The economic challenges on the horizon for New Hampshire’s aging workforce are being compounded by the rising education thresholds to land a good job. It is projected that by 2025, about two-thirds of the jobs in New Hampshire will demand some education beyond high school, but only 51 percent of adults 25 and older today meet that benchmark only five years out from the state’s aggressive “65 by 25” attainment goal.

The future of New Hampshire’s economy will depend in part on the state’s ability to retain young people, while also ensuring those young people have clear paths to good jobs. The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) is uniquely positioned at the center of these challenges and is looking at the promise of youth apprenticeship as a bold new strategy.

The community college system already leads efforts to expand Registered Apprenticeships for adults through their ApprenticeshipNH program. Launched in 2016, ApprenticeshipNH has enrolled over 200 apprentices in Registered Apprenticeships in over 31 programs across the state in hospitality, construction and infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare. All seven of the state’s community colleges participate in ApprenticeshipNH, providing apprentices’ related technical instruction developed in close collaboration with participating businesses, but up until now, these programs have not been directly connected to the state’s high schools.

Youth ApprenticeshipNH is a new partnership between the community college system and New Hampshire’s 24 career and technical education (CTE) centers to develop pathways for high school students that lead into the existing Registered Apprenticeships in the high-need industries, including advanced manufacturing and healthcare. Most of the state’s Registered Apprenticeships are college-connected apprenticeships, culminating in credit towards an associates degree that can be completed during or after the apprenticeship. For the youth program, New Hampshire is taking extra steps to ensure youth receive portable college credit through CCSNH institutions, building on the state’s concurrent and dual enrollment programs.

New Hampshire leaders are confident the youth apprenticeship model will take hold, even if bringing high school students into the workplace is novel for many employers. Youth ApprenticeshipNH is working to launch seven new youth apprenticeship pathways in advanced manufacturing and healthcare, operating at each of the seven community colleges across the state.

Youth ApprenticeshipNH builds upon experience with other work-based learning programs for high school youth statewide. For example, Milford High School has an existing program that allows high school juniors and seniors to participate in paid on-the-job training by rotating through roles at two businesses to learn about the different aspects of the manufacturing industry. In addition to earning high school credit, students also receive college credit from the CCSNH through the program’s related technical instruction component.

"When most people hear ‘apprenticeship,’ they don’t think of academics. Instead they think of the trades. But our community colleges are already career and technical in nature.”

- Beth Doiron, Director of College Access and DoE Programs and Initiatives at the Community College System of New Hampshire

The unique leadership of the community college system to drive the expansion of youth apprenticeship in New Hampshire is important to watch. “When most people hear ‘apprenticeship,’ they don’t think of academics. Instead, they think of the trades. But our community colleges are already career and technical in nature,” said Beth Doiron, Director of College Access and DoE Programs and Initiatives at the Community College System of New Hampshire. And importantly for community colleges wading into this space, she says her faculty are bought in. “Many of our faculty have come from business or the fields in which they teach, so they absolutely understand the need for this, both for the employers and the students.”

Such buy-in from colleges and businesses across the state is critical for the potential of Youth ApprenticeshipNH. In a state looking to keep youth home, while meeting big education goals critical to its economy, the state’s community colleges are now looking to deliver.

Click here to read the most recent PAYA Network Feature on CareerWise Elkhart County, a pilot program in Indiana. To learn more about the rest of the PAYA Network and its members, click here. To stay up to date on the activities of the PAYA Grantees and Network, visit or stay connected to the initiative’s progress by following the #PAYA hashtag on Twitter at @NewAmericaEd.

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Related Topics
College and Career Readiness Youth Apprenticeship Apprenticeship Youth Apprenticeship Apprenticeship Workforce Development & CTE College and Career Readiness