Tuesday afternoon, local and national political figures helped break ground for the state’s new Job Corps Center in Manchester. The bipartisan project has been long in the making but some were not happy with the construction contract.
“One two three! There we go, alright…”
The Job Corps Center will be a campus for high tech and manufacturing training and for high school dropouts to get their GED.
While the project has had broad bipartisan support and has been called a ‘win-win’ for job seekers and employers, the effort to construct the center became controversial. Originally, the federal contract had a labor agreement which included things like prevailing wage requirements. It was backed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and the AFL-CIO. But Senator Kelly Ayotte and a coalition of local, nonunion contractors won the dispute to remove the union requirements. Both Senators spoke at the event and Ayotte spoke proudly of Eckman Construction, a New Hampshire contractor, for winning the bid.
“When you do remove onerous requirements from Washington, you can actually build projects like this for lower cost and that’s the lesson learned from this and I hope people take that from this.”
The effort to build the center began in 2001 when Shaheen was governor. The state will be the 49th to build a Job Corps Center.