Great Bay Rochester Hosts Open Labs Tour Event on January 22nd


Providing a close-up glimpse of training designed for exciting hands-on high-tech careers

People who enjoy working with their hands and are interested in developing skills with high-tech equipment used in aerospace, auto racing, medicine and other exciting industries are encouraged to attend the Open Labs Tour from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Rochester Campus of Great Bay Community College.

The Rochester Campus, at 5 Milton Road, is home to Great Bay’s short-term advanced manufacturing and technical programs, which lead to careers in high-demand fields and the promise of good wages, benefits and professional opportunities.

The Open Labs Tour is open to anyone looking to begin or advance a career that involves making, testing and inspecting “cool stuff” used in aerospace, the marine and automotive industries, medicine and consumer goods, said Debra Mattson, Director of Advanced Manufacturing for the college.

Great Bay offers three certificates at the Rochester Campus: Advanced Composite Manufacturing, which prepares students for high-tech jobs with companies using composite materials as well as companies using other materials; Computer Numeric Control, or CNC; and Non-Destructive Testing, which involves the inspection of parts for quality control and product safety.

The Open Labs Tour is open to the general public, and Mattson encourages high school juniors and seniors, their parents, teachers and guidance counselors to attend. “They will see a clean, modern training lab that simulates the work environment with advanced manufacturing equipment that is just like what is used on the job. They will see demonstrations and have opportunities for hands-on exploration of what it is like to learn in these programs,” Mattson said.

Some students who are currently enrolled in the certificate programs will be in class during the Open Labs Tour and will be on hand to discuss their experiences at Great Bay. Teachers and administrators will talk about the programs and share information about career opportunities.

“Great Bay was the gateway for me to explore some amazing pathways,” said Nathan Kecy, who received a six-month Technical Certificate in ACM in 2017 and honed his skills at many of the region’s leading innovative manufacturing companies, including East Coast Metrology and Durham Boat Co. He recently re-enrolled to learn CNC technologies so he can design and build custom, high-performance motorcycles. “One thing will always remain static throughout my journey in this chaotic, mysterious life: The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to learn, and there is no ending as it broadens with every stroke of curiosity.”

Mattson said Seacoast employers routinely turn to Great Bay to fill vacancies in their workforces. Among the companies that have become educational partners with Great Bay are Turbocam, BAE, Safran, Pratt and Whitney and many others. “We also have companies from out of state recruiting our students,” Mattson said. “Our composites program is the only program of its kind in the Northeast, generating interest from a variety of companies.”

John Cormier, a staff engineer at Brazonics Inc. and adjunct instructor at Great Bay, said students graduate from Great Bay prepared for the workforce, because of the depth and quality of the training available at the college.

“While some outside programs offer machine training and general shop practices, the most valued qualities of a Great Bay graduate appear to be the competencies in blueprint reading, mathematics, problem solving and critical thinking,” he said. “Those qualities go a long way in providing long-term employment and growth opportunities for former students. Having soft skills of teamwork, communication and an eagerness to learn – and the ability to engage with others around – are also desired skills.”

One graduate has worked with SpaceX in California, and students with NDT certificates can work worldwide, Mattson said. “We have the first accredited NDT program east of the Mississippi, meaning students can earn an Associate degree while working on courses required for industry certification, which makes them eligible for industry certification sooner,” Mattson said. “Employers are interested in this because of the shortage of qualified NDT technicians.”

Many students begin their careers while they are studying, she said. “In all programs, we have employers looking for our grads. Students who have completed the program and gone on to work for local employers have set a great precedent, and employers are looking for more people coming out of these programs.”

Most certificate programs begin in the fall, but students can begin their studies at any time. Students who start in the fall can complete ACM and CNC certificates in two semesters. The NDT certificate takes three semesters.

In the NDT program, the first semester is full time in the fall. Students who start in the spring or summer take classes on a part-time basis in the evening so students can begin working in the field during the day.

For more information on the Open Lab Tour event, visit

To speak with someone or learn more about the programs offered at Great Bay’s Rochester campus click here or call 603-427-7700.