By: Jon Eriquezzo (LNH '19)
Nonprofit Management Professional
Our goals for the day were clearly laid out by Steve Reno: To interact directly with representatives of New Hampshire business & industry, To understand their distinctive contributions to the New Hampshire economy, the challenges they face, and their forecast for the future, To understand the principal factors affecting the New Hampshire economy.
For our homework assignment, in preparation for this session, we had to review one of the major business and economy or nonprofit resource publications of our state and select an issue of greatest interest to you and about which we would like to learn more. We then had to interview at least two people in a for-profit or nonprofit enterprise to learn what is her/his greatest challenge and greatest asset in New Hampshire.
After Steve’s introduction, we broke up into small groups to discuss the homework assignment, which we then shared with the larger group. Some of the challenges that folks mentioned were:
- With rate stagnation in NH, and changes in the tax deduction rules, many non-profits are becoming more reliant on fund raising.
- Workforce challenges (recruitment, retention and housing).
- “Gig Economy” is becoming more prevalent in NH. (Gig Economy defined: a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs).
- The cost of healthcare is rising exponentially, and putting stress on businesses.
- 60% of high school graduates leave New Hampshire.
Will discussed his organizations efforts to help with the workforce crisis by attracting more workers to NH. He also presented some interesting concepts, including his efforts to foster an alliance between business, academic organizations, and the State. He also mentioned that they are expanding their reach to work with non-profit organizations.
Todd talked about the need for our business community to re-examine their perceptions about an aging workforce, citing that 85% of Baby Boomers plan to work past the age of 65.
After a short break, we then heard from a panel of NH business leaders:
- Connie Roy-Czyzowski, HR Director, Northeast Delta Dental
- Nick Soggu, President & CEO,SilverTech
- Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner, Grappone Automotive
- Katie Merrow, Vice President, Community Impact, NH Charitable Foundation
- Michael Turmelle, Director of Education & Career Initiatives, NH Charitable Foundation
The subject for the panel discussion was “Coming Up Short- New Hampshire’s Workforce Challenge”The panelists were introduced by Nze Obinelo (LNH board member and class of ‘14).
Katie introduced the Charitable Foundations’ goal of “65x25”, which is to make sure that 65 percent of New Hampshire adults have a high-value credential or postsecondary degree by 2025.
Connie talked about the Sector Partnershipefforts in NH, for IT/ Healthcare, and Hospitality.
Michael discussed the importance of partnering with community colleges, to get a steady flow of interns who can ultimately fill vacancies.
Amanda discussed the challenges that they are experiencing at Grappone Automotive. Due to the workforce shortage, they are limiting their collision and repair service to “in-house” only.
After lunch, Joshua Cyr, Director of Education & Acceleration at Alpha Loft, facilitated a panel discussion. Our panelists were:
- Zach Luse ’19, Founder & CEO, Paragon Digital Marketing
- Mary Jo Brown, ’03, Founder & President, Brown & Company Design
- Jay McSharry, Restauranteur, Portsmouth
In the afternoon, we were introduced to Kathleen Reardon, Executive Director for the NH Center for Nonprofits. Kathleen gave us an eye opening overview of nonprofits in NH. She mentioned that there are a total of 8,591 nonprofits in NH, with 1,756 having an operating budget above $50K. She went on to say that 1 in 7 workers in NH are employed by nonprofits, and more that 30% of NH’s population volunteers.
And then, to close out the day, Miriam Carter, Executive Director of the NH League of Craftsmenspoke to us about her experience running a nonprofit.
After a short debrief session, we were done for the day.
Riding home, I couldn’t help but to reflect on today’s panel discussion and my experiences from previous sessions. I’ve had the opportunity to meet leaders from all types of industries, and we’ve engaged in deep discussions about the unique benefits and challenges that we face here in NH. The LNH experience has exceeded all of my expectations, and I’m beginning to understand what our charge is as leaders in New Hampshire.