By John Toole
---- — SALEM — The state awarded a $50,000 job training grant to Salem-based Methuen Construction.
The grant will be used to train 70 workers.
The company said it will use the money both for new workers — it is recruiting for up to eight positions in metal fabrication and iron work — as well as help existing employees get ahead.
“Some of the training will be for our inexperienced teammates,” human resources manager Denise Puleo said. “Some will be to elevate teammates we have. We call our employees teammates, because that’s really what they are.”
Training is important to Methuen Construction.
“When we hire people, our goal is for them to be successful,” she said. “When they are successful, we all are successful.”
The company assigns mentors to workers and operates a program called “Methuen Construction University” to help them expand their skills.
Training isn’t mandatory, but will benefit workers in their positions and can help them advance with the company, she said.
The new positions the company is trying to fill pay $16 to $18 an hour for inexperienced workers, but they can eventually make $20 to $25 an hour, she said.
Methuen Construction was among 10 throughout the state to receive grants totaling more than $200,000.
“We need to continue working to develop a highly skilled workforce through job training and higher education in order to attract innovative businesses, help existing ones grow and create jobs that can support a strong middle class,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said in announcing the grants.
New Hampshire’s Job Training Fund has awarded $6.1 million in grants since 2007. It requires a company match.
“Anything that helps people get jobs is good,” Salem planning director Ross Moldoff said. “Methuen Construction has been in town for many years and we are glad to see them expand their employment opportunities.”
Moldoff sees the grant as important.
“Higher paying industrial jobs like these, as opposed to retail or service jobs, typically require some training, so the state grant makes it all possible,” he said.
Founded in Methuen in 1960 by Leon and Elizabeth Asadoorian, the business relocated to Lowell Road in Salem in 2001.
It has grown from a company dealing with residential and small commercial projects to a business that has worked on major wastewater treatment plants in the region, water reclamation projects in Arizona and the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.
The company employs about 130 people with construction, fabrication and services divisions.
Puleo said the company often turns to Manchester Community College when recruiting. She said as many as 90 percent of fabrication workers have come through the college.
“We just call them up,” she said.
The company has another reason to celebrate, besides the grant.
Puleo said the company recently completed more than five years and 1 million hours without lost time to worker injury.
“Our safety record is incredible,” she said.