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(Rochester, NH) – A skilled manufacturing workforce is critical to creating high-quality jobs and keeping our economy globally competitive, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today during a visit to Albany Engineered Composites in Rochester, New Hampshire. Shaheen toured the company’s manufacturing facilities and discussed the economic benefits of a recent Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) grant awarded to the state’s community college system for worker training.

“The new high-tech jobs created at Albany Engineered Composites are a great example of how an innovative company can drive our economic growth,” said Shaheen. “As many businesses have begun to replace their traditional manufacturing methods with more advanced technologies, we have seen a greater need for skilled, trained workers. This TAA grant will help students develop the skills they need to keep high-quality, local jobs here in New Hampshire.”

The TAA 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 around the state, including Albany. The program will build advanced manufacturing education programs, develop manufacturing skill concentrations, and align student training to meet the needs of regional industries.

“RAMP-uP is a superb example of how industry, academia and government can collaborate to create high-quality manufacturing jobs in the U.S.,” said Joe Morone, CEO of Albany International Corp, the parent company of Albany Engineered Composites. “Our new plant here in Rochester will manufacture highly engineered composite parts for the aircraft engine industry, and will create hundreds of new jobs, but those jobs will require specialized training in advanced textiles and composites manufacturing.  We are especially grateful to Senator Shaheen for her assistance in securing this grant, which will enable the state’s community colleges, in partnership with New Hampshire-based firms like Albany International, to establish the training programs that are absolutely critical for job creation and growth.”

With international headquarters in Rochester, Albany Engineered Composites employs 260 workers in New Hampshire and is committed to continued growth in the state. Company officials have said that the business hopes increase their New Hampshire workforce to 700 workers by the end of the decade and is hoping to break ground on a new plant in Rochester in 2012.

Shaheen has been a strong voice of support for worker training and had urged Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to support the RAMP-uP program’s application for the TAA 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 last week.