The New Hampshire Department of Education is encouraging high school students to take part-time jobs with New Hampshire companies and earn college credit under a program launched in February.
At a press conference on Monday, department officials and leaders of the State Business and Industry Association touted the new program as a way for students to gain real-world experiences outside of the classroom.
The program allows up to 1,000 high school students to accept jobs offered by state partner companies, each offering academic credit and up to $15 an hour. The state will then reimburse businesses 50% of that wage, up to $7.50 an hour. The reimbursement will cover 480 hours of work, or 24 weeks at 20 hours per week.
The program is administered by Awato; since its launch in February, around 200 companies have signed up to offer jobs. Employers range from service-based employers like Margaritas, Five Guys and 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria in Manchester, to health care providers at grocery stores like Hannaford, to construction and trucking companies, to outdoor organizations like Ski New Hampshire and the Appalachian Mountain Club, to city and state agencies such as the City of Derry, the Division for Children, Youth and Families, and the New Hampshire State Police.
These employers have been vetted by state officials to ensure they are legitimate, department spokeswoman Kim Houghton said Monday.
Students who accept the jobs will participate in a “expanded learning opportunity”; the students’ schools will then decide if this can count for credit. This process is accomplished through a meeting to design the extended learning opportunity with the teacher, counselors and participating employer, depending on the department.
The state will pay its share of salaries with $2.5 million in federal emergency relief funds for elementary and secondary schools, provided to states in two installments by congressional aid programs.
So far, 25 students have accepted jobs under the program since its launch in February. Houghton said the state is now trying to raise awareness ahead of the next school year.
“Work-based learning is a powerful educational strategy and integral to the career development of New Hampshire youth by providing them with the opportunity to learn job skills and develop life skills that have endless benefits,” said Ministry of Education Commissioner Frank. Edelblut in a statement Monday.
Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Business & Industry Association, said the program is “beneficial to both students and employers” and could improve the pipeline between schools and businesses in the state, amid persistent labor shortages that predated the pandemic.
“Work-based learning is a great way for students across the state to explore career opportunities and develop authentic employability skills in a workplace,” he said in a statement. communicated.