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Opportunity Knocks Podcast

Opportunity Knocks Recording

Opportunity Knocks! is a weekly 30-minute radio show on WGIR-AM 610 that explores higher education and jobs in New Hampshire. MCC President Susan Huard, her co-host Jennifer Wells of WGIR, and their guests discuss a different topic every week, ranging from higher education to careers, the job market and new opportunities in New Hampshire. Opportunity Knocks! airs on Sunday mornings at 10 on WGIR-AM.

"Why are we doing this program? Community colleges are about jobs. Everyone has to go to work at some point and make a living, but people don't always have enough opportunity to hear about what's out there, or what their true options are. That's the point of this show. Some of the best jobs are invisible to the public; I want to shed light on options. Our goal for this show is to provide information, ideas and inspiration to help you reach your dreams."

- MCC President Susan Huard

Opportunity Knocks Archive

Manufacturing is about 19 percent of NH's economy, with an average salary of about $26 an hour, which translates to $54,000 a year. And yet, many of these jobs are going unfilled, as employers search for the skilled workers they need. Now, under the Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships in Education program, MCC and its six sister colleges are offering dozens of specialized certificate and associate degree programs to teach the skills the employers demand. And it’s working: community college students enrolled in AMPedNH programs frequently have job offers even before they complete their studies!

Susan's guest is Desiree Crossley, who's responsible for getting the word out about AMPedNH.

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There are 5 million allied health care providers in the United States, who work in more than 80 different professions and represent approximately 60% of all health care providers. And this is just a drop in the bucket in terms of how many allied health care workers are needed to meet current and future healthcare needs in the U.S. Here in NH, 10 of the top 25 fastest growing jobs are in the health care field.

Susan's guest is Lori Vinci, who chairs the Allied Health Department at MCC, which includes the medical assisting program, health information management, medical coding, exercise science and phlebotomy.

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A career in HVAC offers good salaries, opportunity for promotion, and, with demand in NH for skilled HVAC technicians expected to grow by 21% from 2012 to 2022, job security.

Susan's guest is Eddie Curran, an associate professor at MCC and the coordinator of the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning program at the college.

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One Google site shows 30 different criminal justice careers ranging from Animal Cruelty Investigator to Forensic Scientist to State Trooper. And the job outlook for criminal justice graduates is good: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers related to criminal justice are expected to increase by an average of 21% over the next few years.

Susan's guest is Dr. Rafael Rojas, who has more than 40 years of criminal justice experience, with posts in law enforcement, corrections, prosecution and criminal courts, and now, higher education. Presently, Dr. Rojas is an Assistant Professor of Justice Studies at Southern NH University, and a trustee of the Community College System of NH.

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Recent reports by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the tech sector is set to grow faster than all but five industries by 2020, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that, of the "Top-Paid Majors for 2013 Bachelor Degree Graduates," five were in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The number three spot went to Computer Science majors, who earned an average starting salary of $64,000. But despite this very favorable job outlook and starting salaries, employers are beating the bushes for computer science majors.

Susan's guests talk about how the community colleges, four-year schools and private industry are working together to prepare students for these high-demand, high-paying careers in Computer Science. Ali Rafieymehrt is the Director of Workforce Development and STEM at DYN, Inc., the Internet performance solutions company based in Manchester, and Peter LaMonica is the Computer Science Department Chair at MCC.

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As more and more careers now require some sort of college education, moving up the career ladder can be difficult for employees who have specific skills and are ready for promotion, but lack the college degree that can seal the deal. With that in mind, many colleges offer degrees in Applied or Technical Studies, where a student's work and life experience can be converted to college credits that can lead to an associate or bachelor degree.

Susan's guests are Joan Acorace, an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at MCC who has been instrumental in crafting MCC's new Associate Degree in Technical Studies, and Bonnie Argeropoulos, an Academic Coach for Granite State College.

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New Hampshire has about 1.3 million people, and in 2011 we registered almost 1.2 million cars and trucks! Those numbers point to job security and promotion opportunities for skilled auto technicians.

Susan's guests are two people with very different careers tied to the automotive industry. Dick Horan is the founder and owner of Precision Imports, Inc. in Manchester and is on a number of boards involved in automotive tech education. He's also the co-host of "Talking Cars with Dick and Ron" on WFEA Radio.

Peter McNamara is the President of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association and the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Automotive Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to help students prepare for careers in the automotive industry.

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Online education is the fastest growing segment of higher education. A new study from the National Center for Education Statistics reports that about 5.4 million students, or 25% of all college students took at least one distance education course during the fall of 2012. And here in New Hampshire we're following the trend! New Hampshire’s community colleges saw enrollment in online courses jump 85% from 2007 to 2012! But is online learning for everyone?

Susan's guests are Missy Muszynski, who teaches online classes and is the Director of Online Learning at MCC, and Mark Phelps, who took online courses through MCC while working on his bachelor degree at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

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What do the NFL, Catholic Medical Center, the World Cup Soccer Club of Greater Nashua, Greenpeace, and the American Red Cross all have in common? They're all nonprofits. Ten percent of all workers in the U.S. work for a non-profit organization; here in NH, we have more than 8000 nonprofits registered with the Attorney General’s office. In this show, Susan and her guests talk about what it takes to work in these kinds of organizations.

Susan's guests are Charlie Sherman, the executive director of New Horizons for New Hampshire, Inc., which runs an adult homeless shelter, a soup kitchen, food pantry and Angie's Shelter for Women, and Jodi Harper, the Director of Literacy and BRING IT!!! Community Collaboration for Granite United Way.

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Approximately 1.2% of the new high school graduates in June 2013 took "a gap year," a year away from formal education. What "gappers" choose to do with their time varies widely, from expensive study-abroad programs to volunteer programs like City Year to staying at home and saving up for college. Some students also use the gap year to bolster their resumé, and then re-apply to colleges with their new post-high school experience under their belts.

Susan's guests are Katie Floyd, who took a gap year, and is now the Regional Recruitment Manager for NH for City Year, an organization where many "gappers" spend their year, and Jay Hauser, a senior college counselor at the Center for College Planning at the NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF).

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