Congressman Guinta's Women's Business Roundtable focuses of difficulty in recruiting skilled workers

  • Published in Local News

LACONIA — First District Congressman Frank Guinta hosted a "Women's Business Roundtable" at Lakes Region Community College yesterday afternoon, where he discussed with several local businesswomen the challenges of running a business in central New Hampshire.

Six women were invited to the closed-door meeting, though only half arrived to participate. Those present were Diane Cooper, manager of the Laconia Airport, EFI VUTEk manager Wendy Lague and Tracey Rich, principal and ...

LACONIA — First District Congressman Frank Guinta hosted a "Women's Business Roundtable" at Lakes Region Community College yesterday afternoon, where he discussed with several local businesswomen the challenges of running a business in central New Hampshire.

Six women were invited to the closed-door meeting, though only half arrived to participate. Those present were Diane Cooper, manager of the Laconia Airport, EFI VUTEk manager Wendy Lague and Tracey Rich, principal and network engineer at Cybertron. Paula Tracy, reporter for the N.H. Union Leader newspaper, joined the invited guests at the table and participated in the discussion.

Guinta explained that the roundtable discussion was an example of his effort to "expand and improve what it is a congressman does." Other such efforts included a jobs fair for veterans, innovator conferences and summits for manufacturers.

The three businesswomen told Guinta that local industry was having trouble finding local candidates for their skilled positions. Meanwhile, the rising cost of gas and the difficulty of selling a home elsewhere presents a challenge when trying to recruit talent from afar.

Cooper suggested that parents have ingrained into their children the notion that a four-year college or university education is the next best step after high school. Students take this step instead of seeking training for manufacturing or other skilled trades.

"They see these kinds of trades as being beneath them," said Cooper.

"Part of this issue is, people need to be educated about how manufacturing is a clean industry, it's highly skilled," said Guinta, listing examples of technical centers working closely with industry to train high school students and give them insight into local employment opportunities.

Lague, talent manager at EFI, told Guinta that her company has to cast a wide net to find qualified workers, who then might have to commute as far as 50 miles to the facility in Meredith. "People are driving so much further, it's such a strain on the companies," she said.

CAPTION for GUINTA ROUNDTABLE in AA:

Frank Guinta, U.S. Congressman for New Hampshire's 1st District, met with several local businesswomen in a Lakes Region Community College conference room yesterday. From left to right, Tracey Rich of Cybertron, Diane Cooper of the Laconia Airport, Guinta, Union Leader resporter Paula Tracy and Wendy Lague of EFI. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)