EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 24, 2014

Biden to put spotlight on job training in N.H.

Vice president in Nashua tomorrow

By John Toole

---- — Vice President Joe Biden is coming to New Hampshire tomorrow to talk about workforce development and the value of on-the-job training.

The White House last week announced Biden would visit Nashua.

New Hampshire already is putting an emphasis on job training.

The state’s Job Training Fund has awarded more than $6.7 million to companies doing business in the Granite State since 2007.

The fund has provided grants to more than 20 companies in eight of 12 Southern New Hampshire towns — Atkinson, Pelham, Salem, Londonderry, Hampstead, Windham, Derry and Sandown.

More than 2,000 employees in the region have received training through funding under the program.

Awards are big and small.

Stonyfield, the Londonderry-based yogurt maker, has received a series of grants totaling more than $100,000 used to train more than 1,000 workers.

Salon Tuscany of Derry used about $1,200 to train three people.

Owner Dawne Guay said the salon used the grant for color and product knowledge.

“The education definitely was worth it,” Guay said.

The grant process took about six weeks and she had to appear before a review board.

“That was a little intimidating,” Guay said.

She isn’t sure she’d put herself through the process again, but said she believes it’s good the state does provide the opportunity.

“Anytime they are out there helping people educate themselves, it’s all good,” Guay said.

Companies are required to match the funds from the state. They sometimes put up more than a dollar-for-dollar match.

“It’s a great program,” said Joe Casey, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 490 in New Hampshire.

Casey is a former member of the board that oversees grant awards.

“A lot of companies are creating paths for their employees to get better jobs through training,” Casey said.

Marc Goldberg, spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan, said the governor appreciates the national recognition for New Hampshire’s efforts to build a stronger workforce that Biden’s visit represents.

“Gov. Hassan has focused on strengthening New Hampshire’s workforce in order to help innovative businesses grow and create jobs that can support a strong middle class and keep our economy moving forward,” Goldberg said.

Biden hasn’t ruled out running for president in 2016 and arrives with contested races for all major offices this year in New Hampshire.

So, the visit is prompting political exchanges among Democrats and Republicans, with GOP challengers facing Democratic incumbents Hassan, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswomen Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

“Sen. Shaheen, Gov. Hassan and Reps. Kuster and Shea-Porter have all been enthusiastic backers of the failed Obama-Biden agenda that has hurt New Hampshire families,” state GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn said. “They should use the vice president’s trip as an opportunity to appear with him and personally defend their unwavering support for ‘ObamaCare,’ the president’s job killing tax increases and his radical policies that will increase the cost of energy for the middle class.”

State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said Biden has been visiting New Hampshire for 34 years, giving countless Granite Staters the chance to interact with him.

“I’m sure this trip will once again highlight the clear contrast between the Democratic Party’s vision of progress and expanded opportunity for New Hampshire families, and the Republican Party’s plan to revert back to the failed policies of the past while pushing a radical social agenda, instead of putting Americans back to work,” Buckley said.