August 20, 2018

ROCHESTER – Great Bay Community College and the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) are honored to welcome Governor Chris Sununu and the NH Executive Council to the College’s Advanced Technology & Academic Center (ATAC) at 5 Milton Road, as part of a 3-stop tour of Rochester on Wednesday, August 8. At a breakfast, the Governor will hear a presentation from workforce partners Safran Aerospace Composites and Albany Engineered Composites, and will hear about ATAC’s partnerships with  Spaulding High School and the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center that provide innovative pathways for students to acquire postsecondary credentials and prepare for careers in advanced composites.

Since opening its doors in Rochester in 2013 as the Advanced Technology & Academic Center (ATAC) of Great Bay Community College, ATAC has developed innovative programs designed to meet industry and community needs in emerging fields linked to regional employment opportunities.  Initially occupying 7,000 square feet of space in a building that formerly housed a video-rental business, ATAC expanded to its present size of 17,000 square feet of state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and meeting space where students access education and training programs in demand by area employers.  ATAC’s signature certificate program in Advanced Composites Manufacturing (ACM) includes specializations in quality inspection, bonding and finishing, resin transfer molding and CNC milling. ATAC also created certificate programs in Nondestructive Testing (NDT) and Computer Numerical Controls. These certificates can be applied towards a full Associate Degree in Technical Studies. 

In addition to Safran Aerospace Composites and Albany Engineered Composites, Great Bay’s partnerships with area employers have expanded to include other regional employers such as Turbocam, BAE Systems, East Coast Metrology, Hichiner and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Debra Mattson, Curriculum Developer for ATAC said they are also receiving a growing number of requests for customized post hire training for ACM and NDT from industry.  Some of this training is currently being provided at ATAC or at a company site by ATAC faculty.

Employer partners like BAE Systems not only hire graduates, but also advise the college on curriculum to ensure the programs remain current.  According to Frank DeFranco, BAE’s Advanced Composite Manufacturing Product Stream Manager, the company is in the beginning phase of filling hundreds of new manufacturing positions over the next few years, all of which require specialized training.

As demand for highly skilled workers continues to grow, ATAC’s industry and educational partnerships  will continue to expand.  Offerings now include short-term training programs with stackable credentials designed to enable students to “earn while they learn” and acquire new skills in the field.

This fall, Spaulding High School, ATAC and Safran started an innovative new program allowing high school students to spend part of their senior year taking classes at ATAC for concurrent high school and college credit in the high-demand field of composites manufacturing. Dean Graziano, Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator for Rochester schools, suggested the program after meeting with ATAC and Great Bay officials. He wanted to find a way to reward ambitious high school students who were ready for the challenge of college and eager to begin their careers. Graziano assembled a team that included representatives of state agencies, nonprofit work-advocacy agencies, high school and community college educators, and local manufacturers to develop the program, an exciting new model for local students.

The program, and all of the industry pathways available through ATAC, helps to satisfy NH’s “65 by 25” initiative, a goal to have 65 percent of adults 25 and older with a postsecondary credential by 2025.   ATAC’s programs also address statewide workforce retention goals, offering young residents incentives to stay in New Hampshire and pursue careers in 21st-century manufacturing.

Great Bay Community College is a comprehensive postsecondary institution offering quality academic and professional and technical education in support of workforce development and lifelong learning. Great Bay Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth.  The colleges offer Associate degrees and career training in technical, professional and general fields, including transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. The college’s second campus, the Advanced Technology & Academic Center is now open in Rochester offering academic courses and a degree program in Advanced Composites Manufacturing.   For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit