Open House at Laney College

December 8, 2011

“There aren’t many opportunities like this” says Jordan Gutter, a graduate from Rudsdale Continuation School in Oakland. He has always been interested in creating and building things and came to Laney College last semester without any previous welding or machining experience. Today, he is helping demonstrate skills that he learned at the machine technology and welding departments at Laney.
About 20 to 25 students from high schools across Oakland came to the machine technology department’s open house at Laney College on December 2nd, 2011. The open house began with snacks and casual conversation. After an introduction to the instructors, the prospective students toured the machine shop and  welding department. During the introduction, one student immediately asked, “Can I get college credit for this?” Louis Quindlen, Machine Technology department chair, quickly responded by explaining that they would be getting much more than just college credit. They would become Laney College students and be exposed to everything that the school has to offer. As far as getting a job in this industry, Quindlen said, “The industry needs 20 welders…yesterday.”

The students sat at  various workstations while instructors gave machine demonstrations, showcased a variety of types of materials, and introduced some of the computer program skills that they would learn in this program. Safety was the first order of business since the tools and equipment are powerful and potentially dangerous. However, Peter Brown, Laney instructor was quick to point out that only one student has been injured.  He was talking to another student in class while hammering a sheet of metal, missed his mark, and smashed his thumb instead of the sheet of metal.

Amber Rieken, a high school student at Island High in Alameda, is looking for a career that doesn’t require her to sit at a desk all day. Because of her passion for working with her hands, Amber’s professor suggested that she attend the open house.  Amber’s father is a mechanic and she has always had an affinity for working on cars.

Both Amber and Jordan are examples of the types of students that are attracted to these program. They are in search of knowledge and skills which are accessible and attainable as well as valuable.

The machine technology department at Laney College offers students the opportunity to learn marketable skills as well as introduces them to higher education and the possibilities that come with continuing education after high school.

The machine technology department has programs connected to the Career Advancement Academies and the California Community College Linked Learning Initiative. For information on the machine technology department, visit and for information on the welding department, visit

Written by CLP Staff
Photos by Dan Figueroa