Colleges view partnerships, internships as key to economy | News

DANVERS – As the state prepares for a “catastrophic” workforce shortage by 2030, local colleges and universities are seeking a partnership to put as many students in desks, and then jobs, as possible.

The North Shore Chamber of Commerce held its first annual 2023 Business Insight breakfast in Danversport on Wednesday morning. The event featured five Essex County college leaders and asked them to share what their community is doing in workforce development.

“When we started thinking about what we want to do in 2023, it became clear to us that there is a lot to be done in this area,” said Joe Riley, chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “Businesses are still struggling to recruit and retain employees, and hiring remains a major issue in many of our retail businesses.”

The Chamber’s action this year will revisit the topic, Riley said, to explore “what needs to be done for the region to attract the right people to allow our businesses to grow and thrive.”

Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and Lawrence, led with the sad statistics.

“In 2014, we published a study that showed that by 2030, the Commonwealth will be 46,000 college workers short of what we need in the workforce,” said Glenn, describing MassInc’s efforts and research conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute. “We are four times short now. We are about 200,000 college workers short of what we will need by 2030.

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Glenn said: “It’s scary.

To respond, NECC has been forced to develop early partnerships with the college and public schools, according to Glenn. With this, high school students who are considering college can earn money ahead of time, increasing their chances of attending high school.

“Early college programs can reach low-income students, students of color, students in gateway cities … who are not getting the college education they want and need,” Glenn said. “By doubling, tripling, investment, time, and focus, … we’re able to accelerate and get closer to what we want to achieve by 2030. We’re reducing that number.”

The event also heard from: Nate Bryant, vice president for student success at Salem State University; Mike Hammond, president of Gordon College; William Heineman, president of North Shore Community College; and Kurt Steinberg, President of Montserrat College of Art.

Bryant explained Salem State’s focus on apprenticeships to help students enter the workforce before they graduate. A charity campaign is starting to drive more money to internships, because “education is good, but for our students, if internships are not paid, it doesn’t move the needle for them.”

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“The hope will be that every student who leaves Salem State University will have started a career,” Bryant said.

Steinberg said more than half of Montserrat’s internship holders “get a job after graduation, which is something we’re proud of.”

One could argue that Montserrat offers degrees that do not lead to a career…like a formal degree in painting. For this reason, he gave several examples of students who take Montserrat degrees in the labor market. One example shows Zoie Bleau, a 2020 graduate who was working hard in the field of photography. Today, he is one of the only people in the state with sonic welding skills.

“Now they’re making spacesuits for NASA and speed suits for the Air Force, because they know how to weld,” Steinberg said. “So… he’s doing sonic welding.”

Heineman, from North Shore Community College, said his school is fighting the workforce gap by feeding people who don’t have a degree – certificates and different programs that you complete in college that are less expensive than, for example, a two-year student. degree.

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As technical education continues to gain popularity and draw students away from colleges, Heineman noted that there is more to the world than what CTE supports. Partnerships with schools like Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, a local juggernaut in the CTE world, allow “someone to start with something as simple and important as technical education.”

“What we’re also trying to do is realize that manufacturing companies do more than machines. They do marketing. They have management, people,” Heineman said. The point is, you can get on the train whenever you want, get off the train whenever you want, and it’s easy to get back on wherever you want.”

But nothing is more important to colleges than partnerships with businesses, which all the schools that attended said they want more from Chamber members.

“We found, when we did job fairs on our campus, … their median salary was $12,000 more than those who didn’t (go to job fairs),” Hammond said.

“That’s because they agree with you, the employers who want to come and make a change.”

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or [email protected] Follow him at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.


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