By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Lakes Region Community College showcased its new state-of-the-art automotive lab, which features 17 vehicle bays and all the latest equipment Thursday afternoon, and announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Toyota.
Ross Gittell, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, said that the new lab shows the dedication of the state's community college system to workforce development.
"We're looking to the future workforce and training people with the very latest technology," said Gittell.
Scott Kalicki, president of Lakes Region Community College, credited Mike Parker, head of the college's automotive program, with reaching out to Toyota to help make the partnership a reality. Kalicki told the group that with a "huge, huge demand for auto technicians across the board, the new building allows for more industry training."
Patty Koerner, Toyota's national manager for strategic resources, said that LRCC is "an awesome school and that's why we chose the opportunity to be here."
Parker said that the new 21,000-square-foot facility, which cost about $4 million, has 17 bays and each of the two classrooms also have bays as well as 20 laptop computers for use in diagnostics and troubleshooting.
He said the school continues its relationship with the nationally recognized GM Automotive Service Education Program, known as ASEP, which was brought to the college years ago by then automotive department head George Dykstra, who is now the coordinator New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association's education efforts. The LRCC auto program has seven instructors.
NHADA President Peter McNamara said that the LRCC auto program plays an important role in the state and that dealerships in New Hampshire have openings for 400 technicians. He said that the auto industry in the state is excited about the new facility and the expanded program, which will provide even more options for training tomorrow's workforce.
The college offers a two-year associate degree in Auto Technology and GM credits toward certification in all areas through their ASEP. LRCC also offers a general auto tech program.
Patty Koerner, Toyota's national manager for strategic resources, and Scott Kalicki, president of Lakes Region Community College, listen as Ross Gittell, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, speaks at the opening of the college's new state-of-the-automotive lab. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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