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Getting The Skills

NCC honors another class of manufacturing workers

Telegraph photo by ADAM URQUHART U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., on Friday congratulates graduates of the 15th class of Nashua Community College’s Microelectronics Boot Camp.

NASHUA – Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang often speaks of automation and innovation eliminating manufacturing jobs, thus leaving a myriad of Americans with an uncertain future.

In recognizing a need to connect the population to the needs of the ever-changing labor market, BAE Systems and Nashua Community College teamed up to launch the Microelectronics Boot Camp in 2016. This is an accelerated 10-week career training program for wire/ribbon bonding and die attach for microelectronic components in manufacturing.

After Friday’s 15th class of 11 individuals walked across the stage in the Judd Gregg Hall Auditorium, this rigorous program now has 168 graduates since its inception. Program participants have ranged in age from 18 to 63, while the program boasts 95% job placement upon completion. Furthermore, program graduates are guaranteed an interview with BAE.

“Industry is changing,” BAE Systems Director of Operations Kim Cadorette said. “A job in manufacturing is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of smoke-filled factories and greasy hands. There’s no smoke and grease in microelectronics.”

Aside from supplying BAE with skilled employees, the college also partners with many other companies with operations in the Nashua area. These include Mercury Systems, APY Technology, MACON, MIT Lincoln Labs, Lockheed Martin, Monzite and more. The college recently connected with CPI, Beverly Microwave Division, from Beverly, Massachusetts.

“It is a rigorous program, and that means that you have demonstrated that you have all of the competencies, all of the skills that you need now to continue not only in the workplace, but to continue your education, because we need engineers like you,” college President Lucille Jordan told those seated before her.

Cadorette said this accelerated career training program does far more than just equip students with the technical skills to succeed in one of the most challenging assembly requirements in New Hampshire manufacturing, but also teaches them soft skills to help graduates turn technical expertise into a lifelong career. This includes teamwork, continuous self-improvement, communication and interviewing.

Jon Mason is the Corporate, Community and Continuing Education Coordinator for the college. He has overseen the program since its launch in fall 2016. Mason said the premise of this program is to train people, but that it has gone beyond that. Mason stated he has seen couch surfers get jobs that pay well and give the individuals the ability to move into an apartment and have a future.

“The Microelectronics Boot Camp has grown bigger than we imagined it would,” Mason said.

Boot Camp lab instructor Jim Flis also said this class is ready to begin life changing careers.

“Every one of our 11 students have excelled in all aspects of the class and are well prepared for their awaiting careers,” Flis said.

A number of program alumni returned to watch these 11 graduates cross the stage, as well as faculty, industry partners and U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. The senator said when she travels across the state, business leaders tell her they need more highly skilled workers.

“One of the things we need to do is educate not only students, but their families about what today’s manufacturing careers look like: What kind of environment they’re in, what kind of training it takes, and what kind of work people do, and that’s one of the ongoing challenges,” Hassan said.

Another thing Hassan has heard while visiting other apprenticeship programs in manufacturing facilities is that when the families are brought in to see the kind of work that is done in modern engineering and manufacturing, some of the stigma goes away. A number of business leaders have also told the senator they outreach to guidance counselors and teachers.

The senator also said NCC is leading the way, as is the whole community college system, in partnering with high schools and even middle schools to help students explore potential careers as early as possible.

The full list of graduates for this boot camp includes Luis Arroyo, Sara Chabot, Alejandro Flores, Karla Garcia, Demari Hamlin, Robert Lazzara, Keneth Lemite, Patrick Mackey, Corey Oak, Lidia Pintado and Jess Robinson.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

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