GBCC Opens Advanced Composites Training Center in Rochester

GBCC Opens Advanced Composites Training Center in Rochester

Great Bay CC announces the opening of the Advanced Technology & Academic Center in Rochester.  The center, located adjacent to the Lilac Mall, offers advanced composite training in partnership with regional employers as well as other college courses.  Registration for summer and fall classes is open and information can be found at

In addition to offering traditional academic courses ranging from business and computer technology to criminal justice, math and psychology, the center will provide programs in advanced composites manufacturing starting June 17th.  “For Strafford County residents and beyond, the new center is a wonderful option,” said Diane Lambert, Director of the Advanced Technology & Academic Center.  ”Students interested in everything Great Bay has to offer can take courses at Rochester – while those seeking training opportunities in advanced composites manufacturing have a state-of-the art facility practically in their backyard.”  

Great Bay’s new Advanced Technology & Academic Center (ATAC) is the largest single project under the statewide Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in Education initiative, formed by the Community College System of New Hampshire under a federal Trade Adjustment Assistance/Community College and Career Training  grant.

Working with advanced manufacturers all across the state, the state’s community colleges have transformed and expanded education and training programs tailored to meet workforce needs in their regions.  Labs at each of the colleges have been opened or upgraded with the same equipment used in high-tech manufacturing facilities, with the goal of ensuring students can transfer skills learned in the hands-on environment seamlessly to the workplace.

The colleges have responded to the need for highly skilled workers in New Hampshire by aligning their certificate, degree and short-course training offerings with industry sectors like advanced composites manufacturing, machining, electro-mechanics, mechatronics and automation/robotics, precision manufacturing, process control, precision welding and physical sciences.  Successful students are prepared for well-paying jobs serving industries including aerospace, medical, biotechnology, information systems technology, energy and defense.

Great Bay’s advanced manufacturing curriculum has been developed to fit the needs of area manufacturers like Albany Engineered Composites (AEC) and Safran Aerospace Composites (SAC), who will be co-locating a new manufacturing plant in Rochester at the Granite State Business Park.  The plant is being built by SAC and is expected to add about 500 jobs to the local market.  It is scheduled to start operations later this summer.

Debra Mattson, Advanced Manufacturing Program Director and Designer for Great Bay, describes the training as structured around a six month tiered program. “At the end of the six months, full-time students earn a certificate in Composites Manufacturing and are qualified for positions as high level machine- operators with options for continuing into an Associate Degree in Technical Studies.  It’s a great way to get into the industry.”  Students first take three courses: Introduction to Advanced Composites, Applied Math and Measuring for Manufacturing and Technical Blueprint Reading.  At the end the term, students identify an area of interest and begin training in an areas of specialization.  The areas include paint operator, weaving technician & preform finishing, resin transfer molding technician, bonding/finishing operator, quality inspection, coordinate measuring machine operator, composites milling/CNC set-up operator, and high-performance composites fabrication technician. 

The center’s state-of-the art lab will house the newest equipment for high tech composites manufacturing including an Autoclave, RTM press, Curing Oven, a 3D weaving loom, a full range of CAD, CAM, CNC and CMM equipment as well as other commonly recognized equipment used in manufacturing facilities.  The lab is slated for completion by the end of this summer. 

To be accepted into the Advanced Manufacturing program students must first apply, supplying a high school transcript or official GED scores as well as any college transcripts that may be evaluated for transfer credit.  They are then contacted for a formal interview with the Enrollment & Outreach Counselor, Jeff Pruyne, where they will learn more about the industry and program.  The interview also assists in determining the path the student needs to follow for completion of assessment testing.  “To enter the program there are math, reading, writing and computer competency requirements,” notes Pruyne.  “However, we have supports in place for anyone who might not initially meet the entry level requirements needed to enter the program.” 

Those supports include WorkReadyNH, a program delivered at no cost to students  to increase skills for job seekers and career builders.  The program offered at Great Bay’s Portsmouth location is now also available at ATAC.  “NH residents over the age of 18 can build hard and soft skills including problem solving, teamwork, conflict resolution, math, reading and comprehension,” notes Jennifer Scotland, WorkReadyNH Director for Great Bay, “skills that employers like Safran and Albany say are essential in the workplace.”  Upon completion of the WorkReadyNH program, students receive the National Career Readiness Certificate which fulfills the entry level requirements for admission into the Advanced Composites Manufacturing program.

“We are proud to provide a facility that can meet students’ needs no matter where they are in their education,” comments Lambert, a Rochester native.  “We are respectful of all styles of learning.  Because we offer traditional classes and programs in manufacturing, options are available for traditional learners and those who want to take advantage of a more hands-on approach.”

Registration is open for the fall semester for both traditional academic courses (starting September 2nd) and the Advanced Manufacturing program courses begin on (June 17th and September 3rd.)  For more information, contact Jeff Pruyne, Enrollment & Outreach Counselor, 603-427-7735 or 1-800-522-1194 or email:  For more information on the ATAC Center visit