Keene Sentinel: Kuster talks collaboration
Creating partnerships is something U.S. Rep. Ann M. Kuster describes as crucial to New Hampshire having a 21st century workforce.
The first-term Hopkinton Democrat told Keene State College officials Monday afternoon she would do what she could to bring in federal funding to support programs focused on workforce development in the areas of technology and precision manufacturing.
“I’ve been so impressed with what Keene State College is doing, and what the students are doing,” she said, during a tour of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), which is housed in the college’s Technology, Design and Safety Center.
The center, which was established in 2008, is a partnership that includes the college, the Keene School District, River Valley Community College and the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce. Its focus is to provide students and community members with the training needed for jobs in the evolving manufacturing sector.
Kuster said the center is a great model for other regions of New Hampshire and institutions of higher education.
“This is great not only for students, but for people needing retraining,” she said.
The program also helps keep the advanced manufacturing jobs in the state, she said.
“What I think I’d like to happen ideally is for programs focused on workforce development in manufacturing to be a partnership between the state and federal government, institutions like Keene State, and the local community,” she said.
Kuster’s visit to Keene State kicked-off her “Congress at Your Company” initiative, which also included a visit to Microspec Corp. in Peterborough. As part of the initiative, Kuster plans to visit companies across the N.H. 2nd Congressional District to discuss ways the federal government can better support economic growth in New Hampshire and job creation in the state’s private sector.
The congressional district covers Cheshire, Sullivan and Coos counties, most of Grafton County, and parts of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Belknap and Rockingham counties.
Following the tour, Kuster spoke about the challenges ahead for the 113th Congress, including addressing the debt ceiling.
Kuster voted with the majority of U.S representatives last week to suspend the country’s debt limit until May. The decision gives lawmakers time to come together and hash out a thoughtful and comprehensive solution, Kuster said Monday.
In addition, she didn’t want to be responsible for the federal government putting the economy at risk, she said.
“We’re seeing more people come into Congress after this election who want to get things done and work together,” she said.
Balancing the budget, becoming more dependent on renewable energy, strengthening the economy and creating jobs will be other challenges Congress will likely have to address this year, she said. Through all this, she vows her focus will be on the people of New Hampshire.
“I want to make sure I’m listening and hearing people about how the government can help them. I also want to see if Congress is getting in the way of any of this,” she said.