HP3 Launching Fall 2020

 In Chamber News

HP3, or Haverhill Public-Private Partnership, is the work of retired Army Lieutenant General Jack Gardner.  For more than two years, he has been developing HP3 for the sole purpose of helping every Haverhill public school student achieve a living wage job – a job where they can have a good place to live, have transportation, and raise a family.

General Gardner lives in Alexandria, Virginia but has been traveling to Haverhill monthly since 2018.  He selected Haverhill for this project because of its demographics and how well the city represents growing population trends throughout the United States.

Gardner, who served in Iraq, Bosnia, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, developed the concept over several years based on his experience living and working outside the US as a military officer. He believes every American should realistically be able to achieve a living wage career and is convinced that a community effort focused on that goal can succeed.

He recognizes, “This is an ambitious project with very high goals.  We are building a program designed to reach every student and ensure that those who complete high school achieve a true living wage job.  Every single one.  This is our core focus and we hope to eventually establish a model for other cities around the country.  But we are thrilled to be launching it first in Haverhill, Massachusetts.”

Over the last few months the partnership received multi-year funding from Crystal Engineering in Newburyport and financial support from the Haverhill Mayor’s Office. Additionally, the partnership office will reside with the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.

“Lieutenant General Gardner is dedicated to getting his HP3 project going in Haverhill and it is the city’s honor to support his vision and goal to help every Haverhill public school student achieve a living wage job,” Mayor Fiorentini said. “Jack has already introduced his program at many of our schools and to hundreds of our students and school families and I look forward to more and greater successes of HP3 now that they are about to hire a full-time director and are also partnering with the Greater Haverhill Chamber.”

Up to this point the effort has been coordinated by volunteers. This fall a full-time Director from the local area will be selected to manage the various components of the program. These include: informing students and parents on career fields, how to identify student interests, and development of career plans; providing mentors to students and recent graduates where appropriate; and providing transportation assistance.

A central partnership task will involve annually bringing key members of the community together to assess progress and identify other collective community actions required to achieve the goal. The intent is to not work on the margins but to make attainment of a living wage job the norm for all youth in the greater Haverhill area.

Dougan Sherwood, the Haverhill Chamber CEO, has embraced the program and committed the Chamber’s support. From his perspective it can improve the strength of Haverhill’s workforce and help grow the manufacturing base of the local economy.

Sherwood also recognizes the ambitious “moonshot” nature of the effort but believes a great community like Haverhill can achieve great things and in the process develop a model for other cities. “Covid-19 is teaching us something important about our local workforce.  Unemployment has torn through our lowest income workers.  We can build resiliency in our community through this program by helping students out of high school develop the skills needed to build a financially secure life for themselves.  This will strengthen our local workforce which is vital for strengthening our manufacturing base.”

The program has also received support from Mike Trotta, the CEO of Crystal Engineering. Trotta appreciates the potential to help build a skilled workforce for local manufacturing while also systemically helping local youth succeed and achieve meaningful and well-paying careers.

More information on the program and a short video summary can be obtained on the website: thehp3.com

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