Finding new opportunities with Nashua Community College (NCC)
October 10, 2018Claire Breton
Part of the job of a talent attraction professional is uncovering ways to find talent with the right skill set to meet an organization's needs. But what if the roles you’re trying to fill are in a niche market or the industry you’re searching is struggling to find, motivate and train skilled workers? Recently we ran into this very issue among our RF/M manufacturing and production workforce at our Hudson, NH Advanced Microelectronics Center (AMC). We had many qualified employees, but we needed more and that external talent pipeline had waned.
I wish Mercury could take credit for the idea, but that goes to our longtime customer and partner, BAE Systems. By providing an opportunity to students of all ages to learn military standards and assembly techniques for radio frequency (RF) and microwave electronic (MW) assemblies, this program quickly addresses the growing demand for these critical skills and introduces fresh talent to companies like Mercury. It's our job to make the most of this opportunity, and here's how we do that:
1) Be an engaged partner
As soon as we learned of the program, we reached out to NCC. In the months that followed, we forged a strong partnership with the college and now you can often find our employees like Amy Malzone, Lead Assembler, on campus using her passion for Mercury’s innovations and her wealth of industry knowledge to champion the program and provide the inside scoop on life after graduation.
We also invite students in to learn more about the industry and Mercury’s technology through presentations and tours conducted by our Director of Operations, Alex Badalamenti. We have support from upper management such as Kevin Beals, VP, RF & Microwave, and Ken Hermanny, GM, Manufacturing, to help develop these students and set them up for success either here at Mercury or at another organization.
2) Recognize the benefits - to others, not just you
Mercury was recently ranked number 27 on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list, and there is not enough talent with these technical skills to meet our growing demand. We have to do our part to grow this talent pool! We benefit from the NCC program as we are able to hire its graduates who come to us with thorough knowledge and a basic skill set that we can easily and rapidly develop. But it's not all about us!
NCC benefits from our partnership too. Among other things, they are able to market to prospective students the very high probability that they will be hired quickly if not directly after graduation, into a well-paying field that carries a lot of opportunity for advancement. Also, in their partner companies, NCC has access to industry experts to help instruct and mentor the students.
For the students, it can be a game-changer. This program builds students' confidence and its sets them up for a bright future of growth and longevity in some well-established organizations.
Graduation ceremony for the 7th Microelectronics Boot Camp, March 2018.
3) Set goals for the future
As Mercury continues to grow, my goal is to find top talent. But it's more than just getting "bodies in seats". We need a specialized, skilled workforce and I believe the best way to achieve that is by collaborating with colleges and universities like NCC to identify more skill sets and establish new programs.
I recently attended NCC’s graduation and spoke with their President, Lucille Jordan, who shares my vision for the upcoming year (and beyond). She made it clear that NCC is dedicated to student success and to developing relationships with local companies. I look forward to the college’s continued commitment to the community and hope to find others like them in areas of the country where Mercury has needs.
My favorite part of the ceremony was the students' palpable excitement to begin a new career. A student from the program once said to me, after being offered a position with Mercury, “You have no idea the difference you are making in my life by giving me the opportunity to work at your organization.” I will never forget those words. Knowing that I can impact even one person in this way makes the effort worthwhile.
I feel fortunate to be part of a growing organization where I’m able to offer opportunities that make a difference to people in my community. Work is such an integral part of our lives, and I am lucky to work with some of the greatest talent out there.