CAC welding program helps to train next generation

According to the American Welding Society, the welding industry will face a shortage of more than 400,000 welding professionals by 2025, largely due to the number of older, skilled welders retiring.

Central Arizona College’s welding program is helping to train the next generation of welders. Practical training coupled with advanced technology helps graduates to succeed in this career field. Students learn welding techniques along with design and fabrication skills through competency based educational methods that allow them to consistently progress in their skill level. Performance standards for certification are in accordance with those established by the American Welding Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American Petroleum Institute.

For certified welders, there are unlimited employment opportunities in both heavy and light industry. The program has a great success rate in employing graduates, of which many are employed within Pinal County.

“We work with multiple industry partners to ensure students are training using the most current industry standards,” Brent Couch, welding technology professor said. “Employers are calling us, needing welders right now. We strive to meet employer’s needs and work with our industry partners to help students join the workforce after they complete the program.”

Through funding received under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants initiative, CAC recently completed the development of a new welding lab that includes new welding booths, cutting edge multiprocess welding machines and a new ventilation system. Additional funding from the Carl Perkins Grant allowed the program to add a CNC plasma burn table, band saw and Real Weld Trainers that allow students to practice their techniques before entering a welding booth.

With these improvements, CAC is able to offer a welding fabrication option. The College is the only one in Arizona to offer a full pipe welding option. New for the fall 2016 semester, the program will offer a course; Welding Inspection Technology from 4:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Monday evenings. It is designed for the welding professional who has an interest in becoming a certified welding inspector, or transitioning from welding to inspection. It will also benefit those already in the inspection field who may want to advance or refresh their skills.

“I am recommending all welding students take this course. It will help them better understand the requirements of inspection and meeting the standards of industry codes.” Mr. Couch said.

CAC offers an associate of applied science degree in welding technology, and a structural certificate and is seeking approval for a pipe welding certificate. Students have the ability to earn their certification in industry codes while in the program. Graduates can utilize their skills in a number of industries such as mining, steel fabrication/erection, manufacturing, process piping, pipeline, and power generation fields.

For more information on the welding program contact Sandra Lascher-Zires, career navigator, at 520-494-5308, Professor Couch at 520-494-5315 or Professor Ken Smith at 520-494-5347.

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