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New Rochester center expands pool of advanced technology workers

Union Leader Correspondent

June 02. 2013 4:16PM
Later this month, area residents can get a foothold into the advanced composites manufacturing industry by taking classes at Great Bay Community College's Advanced Technology & Academic Center (ATAC) in the Lilac Mall plaza along Route 125 in Rochester. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)

ROCHESTER — A partnership between Great Bay Community College and two international manufacturers will help ensure the workforce is prepared to produce a variety of parts for the aerospace industry.

While some classes have begun at the Advanced Technology & Academic Center at 5 Milton Road (Route 125) in the Lilac Mall plaza, students can enroll in a six-month program for advanced composites manufacturing, which is scheduled to start June 17.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and other officials are expected to be on-hand for a grand opening celebration, which is scheduled for July 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The new 17,000-square-foot facility includes classrooms, computers and academic support and technology laboratories. Students can take Advanced Composites Manufacturing courses or take classes for other degrees offered by GBCC.

ATAC was created through the statewide Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in Education initiative, formed by the Community College System of New Hampshire using a $20 million federal grant.

"This is a perfect example of a public-private partnership, all parties working together for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the overall community," said Susan Siegel, vice president of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Albany International Corp.

After taking a few courses — including an Introduction to Advanced Composites, Applied Math & Measuring for Manufacturing and Technical Blueprint Reading — students receive an introduction to working in the aerospace industry.

The training program helped expand the base of qualified highly skilled workers to Albany Engineered Composites and Safran Aerospace Composites, which operate and are in the process of expanding facilities in the Granite State Business Park near Skyhaven Airport.

Safran's new plant, which is expected to begin operations this summer, should bring about 500 job opportunities to the area.

Siegel said the new training center, which will have some Albany employees as instructors, "plays a critical role in the success of the Albany Engineered Composites LEAP program and the overall company."

Additionally, Seigel said the partnership will ensure both Albany and Safran, which developed the program with GBCC, have the personnel to manufacture about 100,000 parts a year when the facilities are in full production by the end of the decade.

"We can have a world-class plant and the most innovative technology, but nothing happens without talent," Seigel said.

For details or to register, visit

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