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Rochester high school, community college pair up

Sunday News Correspondent

February 24. 2018 9:19PM

Francis Watson, Matt McNally and Jake Ducharme recently started their classes at Great Bay Community College. Next academic year, a dozen students from Spaulding High School will be receiving training at the Advanced Technology and Academic Center in Rochester. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

ROCHESTER - Great Bay Community College is partnering with Spaulding High School in Rochester to fill industry demand for advanced manufacturing workers.

Debra Mattson, who is the director of the Advanced Technology & Academic Center in Rochester, and Spaulding's Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Dean Graziano began meeting with industry leaders a year ago to discuss bringing in a dozen seniors. They plan to start the program this fall.

"We're committed to filling the needs employers are experiencing right now, and that's a challenge because of the low unemployment rate," Mattson said.

Graziano said students in the program will be able to take their classes at Spaulding in the morning and get trained during the afternoon with the college.

Graziano said he knew the biggest challenge would be funding. It costs about $6,000 for students to go through GBCC's Advanced Composite Certificate program.

"We want this to be totally paid for, so I went to the community," Graziano said.

Graziano said McDonald's, Federal Savings Bank, Profile Bank and the Ridge Marketplace have stepped up as sponsors.

Mattson said students will be taught by GBCC faculty members, and the program is a rigorous one, but well worth it because it will put the students on the path to success.

"We're not talking about jobs, we're talking about careers," Mattson said.

The program will run from September to May.

Graziano said he already has four students who have shown interest.

"I really believe this is something that can work," Graziano said in a statement. "I can see this being a big, big path for a lot of students.

"A lot of times, some of our students just need an introduction to the things that will make them successful, and this program is one of those opportunities."

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