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February 12, 2014

Hassan told N.H. is losing young workers

SALEM — Business, education and community leaders told Gov. Maggie Hassan yesterday that more needs to be done to keep young, skilled members of New Hampshire’s work force from leaving the state.

The governor listened for nearly two hours as the 19-member group expressed concerns about the rising cost of doing business, training young workers and maintaining “The New Hampshire Advantage.”

Hassan and the state Department of Resources and Economic Development hosted the business roundtable at Salem High School. It was just one of many roundtable discussions of advanced manufacturing and high-technology Hassan expects to hold around the state.

In her State of the State address last week, Hassan emphasized the importance of creating jobs and having a highly trained work force. She announced the formation of a task force dedicated to improving the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The governor continued to the stress the need for a skilled work force yesterday and spoke of the talent and dedication of New Hampshire’s young workers.

“They are remarkable,” Hassan said. “The people of this state will learn and when they will commit to you, they will commit.”

But one of the major frustrations voiced by business executives was seeing workers leave the state for more pay and opportunities in the Boston area and elsewhere.

College students who grew up in New Hampshire are leaving after graduation, they said.

“We are losing our next generation of children outside the state,” said Dean Kacos, chief operating officer of Mosaic Technology Corp. in Salem. “We have to figure out how to bring them back.”

Kacos, chairman of the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce, was joined by Chamber executive director Donna Morris. She told Hassan that commercial real estate agents often ask her about the Granite State’s ability to compete.

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