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March 02. 2013 1:40AM

Hypertherm to mark opening of Lebanon facility

LEBANON - Hanover-based manufacturer Hypertherm will celebrate the opening of its 160,000-square-foot facility in Lebanon on Monday.

"We expect when this building is at full capacity it will enable us to create up to 500 new jobs over the next three years," said Hypertherm public relations manager Michelle Avila on Friday.

The company, which employees about 1,100 people in the Upper Valley, moved about 300 employees into the new buildings after the first of the year, including Avila's office.

"We were squeezed for space, so it's given us more breathing room ...," she said. "This facility's primarily a mix of manufacturing and office space."

Hypertherm designs and manufactures advanced cutting products for use in a variety of industries, such as shipbuilding, manufacturing and automotive repair.

Jobs to be created include engineers, highly skilled machinists, lab researchers and office workers, Avila said.

Through a partnership with the Vermont and New Hampshire departments of labor and the Community College System of New Hampshire, Hypertherm runs the Hypertherm Technical Training Institute through River Valley College, which trains many of the machinists working at Hypertherm today, Avila said.

"We train them; it's a nine-week intensive course. We train them how to operate these intensive machines, and they are guaranteed a job at Hypertherm," Avila said. "We give them the skills that they need to be advanced operators."

Participants in the program also receive college credit toward an associate degree, she said.

Celebrating the opening with Hypertherm will be Gov. Maggie Hassan, Chancellor Ross Gittell of Community College System of New Hampshire, Commissioner George Copadis of state Department of Employment Security and Jill Houser from the U.S. Department of Labor.

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