On October 1 at Manchester Community College, we celebrated the individuals and organizations that have worked to strengthen the state’s workforce through work-based learning. Here are the 2019 Work-Based Learning Awards recipients.

2019 Overall Champion Award Recipients

At the 2019 Work-Based Learning Awards, the overall champion award recognizes the educators, advisors, legislators and organizations that model the benefits of work-based learning and work to expand the horizons of students in New Hampshire.

Dr. Michael Delahanty

Superintendent of Schools, Salem School District

Since his tenure as a principal of Salem High School in 2000, Michael has been a staunch supporter for WBL at all levels. The district has deep ties to the local industry because of the way he has set the standard for valuing school to work connections.

Catherine Schoenenberger

President, NH Construction Career Days, Inc.

Catherine has been the force behind the NH Construct Days since it began 11 years ago. Scores of businesses attend and interact with over 2,000 students over two days each fall to create an event that captures all aspects of the NH construction trade industry.

2019 Student Champion Award Recipients

The student champion award recognizes the high school or college students who have used work-based learning opportunities, such as internships, co-ops or apprenticeships, to complement the typical classroom setting.

Forrest Green

Merrimack Valley High School; Completer, Concord Regional Technical Center (2019); Student, Manchester Community College

Forrest is one of the first generations of students to take advantage of starting a CTE program as a sophomore. He’s created a customized, career-focused senior year in which he’s working in the automotive field, taking auto tech classes at Manchester Community College while completing his graduation requirements at his local high school.

Emma Liptrap

Senior, Salem High School

Emma worked as an intern in her junior year under Principal Architect Rob Hannon of RWH Architects. The company recognized her dedication and offered her a paid position over the summer.

2019 Advisor/Coordinator Champion Award Recipients

The advisor/coordinator award recognizes the advisors who have created or enhanced outside learning experiences by partnering with the community; thereby, allowing students to explore their curiosity.

Sharon de la Vergnes

Career Specialist, Huot Career and Technical Center, Laconia

Sharon has expanded the quality and number of career-based curricula at the Huot Technical Center. As a result of her efforts, more than 80% of seniors have finished some form of work-based learning in the community.

Joy Gobin

ELO Coordinator, Lebanon High School

Joy has been an ELO coordinator for five years. During that time, she’s helped students by supporting them in taking rich WBL experiences. She’s also worked to expand a WBL partnership with Hypertherm and Fujifilm Dimatix.

Julie Reece

Program Manager for Experiences (ELO coordinator), VLACS

Julie developed an experienced pathway for students, providing WBL opportunities to students. She found a way to combine actual onsite time with a flexible curriculum. Now, more than 100 students all over the state are engaged in career exploration experiences.

Mandy Fraser

Futures Coordinator, John Stark Regional High School, Weare

Mandy works to develop, manage and coordinate job shadows, work-study, alternative learning and internship opportunities for students in the John Stark technical and internship courses.

2019 Teacher/Faculty Champion Award Recipients

The teacher / faculty award recognizes the educators who have promoted the concept of work-based learning to students and collaborated with the community to enhance the number of students engaging with such programs. Check out the following 2019 Work-Based Learning Awards teacher / faculty award recipients.

Joe Riddensdale

CADD Drafting Teacher, Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center, North Conway

Joe understand the importance of WBL experiences for students and makes it a priority in his classes. Many of his students also pursue engineering for post-secondary study. He is constantly looking for ways to make his curriculum more relevant by engaging them in the mix.

Susan Turcotte

Professor and Program Director of Orthopedic Technology, NHTI

Sue’s innovative program is only one of eight in the country. The program features externships through partnerships with orthopedic centers and hospitals throughout New England over two semesters. The externships include work in outpatient facilities and/or rotations with 300 hours of hands-on learning.

Val Koch

CTE Teacher, Education and Behavioral Science Program, Concord Regional Technical Center

Val, a state CTE leader in careers in education and counseling, is a graduate of the program. Last year, 54 students worked in 34 classrooms in 17 schools throughout the Concord Regional Technical Center region.

2019 Industry Partner Champion Award Recipients

The industry partner award recognizes the business and community organizations that provide opportunities and hands-on guidance to students looking for a head start in the workforce.

Kearsarge Food Hub (KFH) and Sweet Beet Farm


For the past five years, the staff at KFH have worked side-by-side with alternative education students from John Stark Regional High School to learn about farming, sustainability and civic and social responsibility.

Jeff Nicoll

Owner, Ambix LLC, North Conway

Jeff, a WBL partner, offers students the most authentic and realistic experience possible. He takes calculated risks to give students actual field projects such as calculating tolerance, sketching, creating fixtures, using molds and leveraging software like CAD.

Mark Tulley

Owner, Tulley Automotive Group

Mark is an avid supporter of students pursuing auto tech careers. He has been an active supporter of Nashua Auto Tech CTE program and has been a champion for WBL by supporting paid summer internships.

Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital


The Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital staff have mentored health science students from the Salem CTE in various career paths. The organization regularly participates in career exploration fairs, offers career guidance and provides learning environments for scores of students.

Michael D. Todd

Strategic Communications Administrator, NH Department of Safety

Three years ago, Mike reached out to CTE teacher Tom Mungovan’s graphic design program to see if students were interested in doing some design work for the NH Department of Safety. Now, Mike brings many of the state’s creative designs and image needs to Tom’s class for students to come up with proposed ideas.

Susan Torrance

Owner/Operator, Concord Headlines Salon, Concord

Sue is committed to volunteering time to support young cosmetology students. She engages numerous interns throughout the year in her shop and actively participates in the state’s Cosmetology-in-Action event with 300 future cosmetologists.

Joe Ruelas (Sprague Inc.) and Tim Sullivan (Hitchiner Inc.)

Manufacturing Exploration and Externship Program, Milford

Joe and Tim are long-time supporters of WBL. For years, they’ve partnered with Milford High School/ATC’s CTE Career-Focused Internship program. Last year, they started a new shared venture by collaborating to create an innovative manufacturing education experience.

2019 John F. Olson Memorial Work-Based Learning Champion Award

This special award was created before the 2019 Work-Based Learning Awards and is named after John Olson who passed away in 2018. He was the first full-time employee of Whelen Engineering Company in the early 1950s and eventually became the company’s CEO and president. John Olson and Whelen have been visionary leaders in work-based learning.

John had the idea to re-engage young people and their families in advance manufacturing by opening the doors of his company to be a classroom – the Little League of Manufacturing. This was work-based learning back in 2011.

Because of John’s leadership and vision, Whelen has continued to support the development of partnerships between businesses and education. These partnerships have resulted in high school classes being held in businesses and colleges in several states, vacation and summer camps for middle school students and curricula for in and after school programs for elementary students.

The Work-based Learning Champion Award is given to an individual, a company, an organization or an educational institution that has demonstrated longevity and commitment as well as excellence in the execution of work-based learning opportunities for the youth of New Hampshire.

Val Zanchuk, Owner/Operator, Graphicast Inc., Jaffrey

For the past five years, the staff at KFH have worked side-by-side with alternative education students from John Stark Regional High School to learn about farming, sustainability and civic and social responsibility.

Read about the 2018 Awards ›