Dr. James W. Wade of Raytheon, Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn, Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan, Liz Brunner of Brunner Communications and Royall Mack, chair of the MCC Board of Trustees.
More than 200 local employers gathered at the Andover Country Club at the end of October to learn how Middlesex and Northern Essex community colleges are “Building the Talent Pipeline” through internship programs.
The event was sponsored by Merrimack Valley Partners for Progress (MVPP), a collaboration between the two community colleges.
“Industry and academia need to work together to meet emerging needs,” said Dr. James W. Wade, vice president of Mission Assurance for Raytheon Co. He talked about the importance of promoting STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and shared how Raytheon is supporting programs designed to spark interest in STEM careers. “Building a competitive workforce is essential to our national security”
Raytheon has been working with Middlesex Community College and Northern Essex Community College for decades to provide noncredit and credit programs for its employees and has recently developed new programs to interest young people in STEM careers.
Based on the company’s investment in workforce development, MVPP presented Dr. Wade with the first annual Leadership in Workforce Development Award.
A panel featuring local employers who have been partnering with community colleges was facilitated by Liz Brunner, former NewsCenter5 anchor and current CEO of Brunner Communications. The panel discussion focused on best practices for attracting new employees and developing the skills and talents of current employees.
The panel included Sam Ambra, co-owner, sales & marketing director, Simply Elegant Catering, Groveland; Lynne C. Garone, associate vice president, analytical technology worldwide, E Ink Corporation; Billerica; Nathaniel C. Gravel, director, Information Security Practice, GraVoc Associates, Peabody; and Joseph (Jody) White, III, president, Lowell General Hospital.
Panelists answered a number of questions from Brunner and the audience regarding their experiences with community college interns.
Gravel of GraVoc Associates, an IT consulting firm, said he hired Joseph Cruz of Haverhill, a computer information science major at Northern Essex Community College three months ago, and he’s been very pleased with the results. “Joe started helping with billable work on his first day. He became part of the team from day one.”
Also speaking were Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan; Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn; Royall M. Mack, founder & CEO, Ciara Enterprises, LLC; and Len Wilson, retired regional president of Sovereign Bank.
Glenn said 94 percent of community college students will continue to live and work in the Merrimack Valley region after graduation. “Many of them will be working for your companies, and we would love to partner with you and other local employers to be sure they are well-prepared for the workplace.”
For more information about MVPP, visit www.mvpp123.org.