Chris Wellington wants young people to see state's opportunities
One of the greatest challenges facing the Granite State, public policy experts say, is getting its younger, educated residents to stick around and set down roots. In his professional and personal life, Chris Wellington, 31, has been at the forefront of this challenge.
He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2004, but instead of moving to Boston or further afield, Wellington stayed in Manchester and later landed a job at the Manchester Economic Development Office. There he worked with businesses in the effort to revitalize downtown, which has steadily become a restaurant and entertainment mecca.
Last year, Wellington took a job with the state economic development office as the business development specialist for the western region of the state. There, Wellington said, the challenge is getting young people to recognize the opportunities that exist in advanced manufacturing.
"This is not your father's manufacturing," he said, noting that the jobs require sophisticated training and offer salaries that can reach six figures.
At the same time, Wellington has remained in Manchester — he recently purchased a home in the city — and he has stayed active in young adult networking groups and events. He's the board president of the Manchester Young Professionals Network. Wellington began his career in the nonprofit sector, and he continues to volunteer with Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Manchester and other groups.
Wellington said New Hampshire has the natural resources to keep and attract young people to state.
But more could be done, he said, to make graduates aware of the opportunities that exist in the state. "I think there can be a better relationship (between colleges and schools) with the business community," he said. "I think students just don't see the opportunities in New Hampshire."
And that's just what he's working to remedy.