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March 16, 2014

NH Boy Scout troop wants manufacturing badge

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A Boy Scout troop from New Hampshire is advocating for the creation of a new merit badge in advanced manufacturing.

Daniel Webster Council Troop 123 of New Boston recently toured the advanced manufacturing training labs at Manchester Community College and Great Bay Community College, where they learned about robotics, automation and advanced composites manufacturing.

The list of more than 130 badges Boy Scouts can earn already includes one in robotics and one in composite materials, and a badge for computer-assisted design will be added next year. But a badge focused entirely on advanced manufacturing would emphasize that manufacturing is both a traditional yet contemporary career path, said Assistant Scout Master Doug Cullen said.

The process of adding a merit badge starts with demonstrating that it would promote a hobby or career interest consistent with the aims of scouting, which include community involvement, environmental stewardship, career development and personal growth and leadership, Cullen said.

“In this case, we could focus on leadership, character development and green processes, as well as the obvious career development advantages,” he said.

Together, New Hampshire’s seven community colleges offer more than two dozen advanced manufacturing training and education programs ranging in length from two weeks to two years. They all were opened or have been updated with funds from a $20 million federal grant aimed at closing the high-tech skills gap identified by manufacturers.

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