Great Bay Community College Hosts Legislative Breakfast
Great Bay Community College (GBCC) hosted a Legislative Breakfast on Friday, January 21st at the College’s Portsmouth campus on the Pease Tradeport. The event provided an opportunity for State Senators, Legislators and Representatives to learn about the College’s critical role in connecting post-secondary education with workforce development to promote the economic health of the Seacoast Region (Rockingham and Strafford Counties).
Interim President, Dr. Cathryn Addy discussed Great Bay’s important role as a part of the future of higher education in New Hampshire and addressed an audience of Legislators, faculty and staff as well as members of the College Advisory Board who represent local business and industry. After thanking the Legislators for their continued support, she commented “It is critical that the State continue to invest in higher ed. Many economic studies have shown that for every dollar spent on higher education in the local community, there is about a four-dollar return. That money circulates. When a budget decreases or increases, that means there is less spending going on in the local area. It’s not about one level of investment, there are many ripples and it’s about many levels of investment.”
The Chancellor of the Community College System of NH, Ross Gittell, reviewed statewide initiatives of the Community College System, including their dual enrollment programs, Running Start and Early College which enable students to earn college credits while still in high school. According to Gittell, the initiatives have not only introduced high school students to a college experience and increased enrollment but have also encouraged more students to stay in-state after graduation.
The Chancellor then presented NH economic data showing comparative employment rates among those with varying degrees. Those with an associate degree, he pointed out, are shown to have the lowest unemployment rate (1.2%) in comparison to those with a bachelor or graduate degree (1.9%) and those with only a high school diploma or equivalent (3.7%). For individuals with less than a 12th grade education, the unemployment rate increases to 6.3%. “Our programs are aligned with what students need to achieve economic mobility. We do that here at GBCC and across the state.”
The event concluded with a panel of students offering insight into their experiences at GBCC. When asked how they would convince a current high school student to attend Great Bay, IT student Lovaiza Khan answered, “While in high school, a lot of students romanticize the college experience.” Nursing student Emily Brashear, agreed. “you can have the same opportunities here, meet people, have access to Portsmouth and do not miss out. You achieve the same thing. It’s a smaller community, it’s easier to get recognized and you save money.”
For Aaron Pomeroy, Sports Management major and student athlete, GBCC has allowed him to continue to play sports, and fine tune his career path while working. This May, he hopes to graduate debt free having paid for his degree entirely “out of pocket.”
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 in Rochester offers courses and a certificate programs in Advanced Composites Manufacturing. For more information on Great Bay Community College, visit www.greatbay.edu.