September 10. 2018 10:21PM

Manchester schools OK curriculum partnership with Velcro to cultivate skilled workforce

New Hampshire Union Leader

Principal Rick Dichard poses in the new Velcro University classroom at Manchester West High School last month. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — School board members voted Monday night to approve the curriculum for a new partnership between the school district and Velcro Companies, which could result in paid internships and possible jobs for Manchester students.

Committee members heard a presentation over the summer on “Velcro University,” now underway at Manchester High School West. According to David Chambers, director of quality for Velcro Companies, the program is designed to “equip students with the practical business and technical skills” needed to succeed in today’s world.

Officials from Velcro worked with district staff to develop a curriculum addressing both “soft skills and technical skills.”

The curriculum approved by school board members operates under seven phases:

Essentials — In which students learn “soft skills” needed to contribute in a manufacturing business environment.

Business Acumen — Students are exposed to basic business tools, such as financial and production fundamentals.

Velcro Companies Culture — Students learn how the effectiveness of an organization can be linked to that organization’s culture.

Technical Acumen — Involves the students connecting with and mirroring an employee at the company’s manufacturing facility.

Internship — Students who complete all Phase IV activities will be given preferential status for summer internships with Velcro Companies, based on availability.

Giving Back — Intended to teach the value of community service.

Placement and Preparation — The final step. If students have successfully completed all phases of the curriculum, the company has “committed to offer full-time entry-level employment opportunities.”