Website lists expected Belknap County job opportunities over next 5 years, including education & training necessary to qualify & pay rates to expect

LACONIA — To further its goals of retaining young talent in the region while fostering the workforce employers require, the Belknap Economic Development Council (BEDC) recently surveyed 20 local firms about the jobs they expect to fill during the next five years and summarized these career opportunities in industry profiles on its website.

Initially BEDC compiled information about employment in advanced manufacturing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance and hospitality, all industries with potential for growth in the coming years. The profiles indicate the entry and mid level jobs that will be available, together with the qualifications, responsibilities and compensation for each. Along with a sketch of each industry, its average earnings, number of jobs and projected growth, the profiles include a sample of local companies in the four industries.

For instance, 85 firms in Belknap County employ a total of more than 2,300 people at annual average earnings of $61,200 in advanced manufacturing, which applies high technology to expensive raw materials to produce components for the aerospace, medial, semi-conductor, automotive and electronics industries. This sector expects to add more than 100 a year. Entry level positions include machine operators, requiring a high school diploma and "willingness to learn" while paying $13.15 an hour, and machinists and assemblers with between three months and a year of experience paying from $12 to $16.68 an hour.

Salaries for entry level positions in financial services, which require interpersonal, communications and computer skills along with attention to detail, range between $20,000 and $28,500 while earnings in health care start at $11 an hour for a high school graduate with some work experience and reach $28,000 for a college graduate. In the hospitality industry, the largest employers in the region with the lowest average earnings of $22,100, entry level jobs pay between $10 and $14 an hour, with mechanics and cooks with some experience earning the most.

The profiles, which are posted on the BEDC website, are intended to offer young people contemplating a career and preparing to enter the workforce information about the opportunities open to them in the Lakes Region. The unemployment rate in the Laconia labor market in October was 5.3-percent, slightly higher than that of the state and the county, but the information gathered by the BEDC indicates that regional employers will have entry level positions for qualified people eager to work.