Hypertherm, RVCC to Continue Manufacturing Training Program

Valley News Correspondent
Sunday, February 19, 2017

Claremont — A 9-year-old program that has River Valley Community College and the Hypertherm Technical Training Institute collaborating to train workers in the field of advanced manufacturing has proven so successful that it will be continued despite the end of a $5 million grant that has supported it over the last four years, the college said Friday.

“We have been able to create a sustainable program now that the grant is winding down,” said Scott Lazzarro, advance machine tool technology director at RVCC.

About 400 people have completed the program, which was funded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-1B program. The college, which has locations in Claremont, Keene and Lebanon, acts as a satellite campus for the initiative. The course is taught at Hypertherm’s Heater Road facility in Lebanon.

Lazzarro said an advanced manufacturing certificate can be earned tuition-free through Hypertherm’s technical institute and those accepted become full-time employees of Hypertherm the day they start the course. Successful graduates earn the certificate and 28 credits that can be applied toward an engineering technology associate degree at the college.

The grant expires April 1, Lazzarro said, but organizers are already gearing up for the next class. A career day was held at the Hypertherm Technical Training Institute on Saturday, at which prospective workers were interviewed.

“We have a maximum class size of 16 and always have many more applicants than we can accept,” Lazzarro said. “We shoot for about three classes a year.”

In a news release, RVCC interim President Ali Rafieymehr said the partnership “not only provides opportunities to the students to upgrade their (skills), it also allows students to earn college credits after successful completion of the training.”

Mike Baymiller, Hypertherm’s vice president of human resources, said the program allows the company meet the challenge of expanding its workforce. “Our future success will be measured in part by how well we are able to hire, develop and grow our skilled workforce,” he said in the release.