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(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today announced that New Hampshire has been awarded a competitive $19,974,792 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to train workers in advanced manufacturing skills. 

“Manufacturing is a critical driver of economic growth and employment in our state,” Shaheen said.  “However, as businesses replace traditional manufacturing methods with advanced technology, many job-seekers have been unable to keep up because they lack the specialized skills required.  By arming workers with the tools needed to excel in advanced manufacturing, this award will help New Hampshire workers secure high-paying jobs and help New Hampshire companies hire high-quality employees.”

The award will support the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Consortium (RAMP-uP), a partnership between all seven of New Hampshire’s public community colleges, state employment officials, and more than a dozen employers from around the state.  The grant is part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which helps employees who lose their jobs to foreign trade prepare for new careers, and will be administered by DOL in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education.

“This program is all about bringing high-quality jobs to New Hampshire, ensuring that we have the workforce to fill those jobs, enabling business located here to grow, attracting new companies, and increasing economic activity,” said J. Bonnie Newman, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCNH).  “With campuses in every region of the state, New Hampshire’s community colleges are uniquely situated to provide these opportunities and work in partnership with employers.”

Using the funds, each of the state’s community colleges will develop advanced manufacturing training programs linked to regional employment opportunities in such fields as automation and robotics, advanced materials technologies and composites, precision manufacturing, and precision welding.  The programs will be designed to help the unemployed, returning veterans, workers who’ve lost their jobs due to foreign competition, and adult and part-time students.  In addition to programs at the colleges, training may also be offered online and on-site at manufacturing plants.

Shaheen has been an outspoken advocate for worker training and sent a letter to DOL Secretary Hilda Solis in support of CCNH’s application for this award.  Last week, Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor in support of important reforms to the TAA program.  The Senate voted to reauthorize the program Thursday.