A student works on a project at the Seacoast School of Technology Welding Technologies in Portsmouth, which is collaborating with Great Bay Community College. (COURTESY)
Seacoast schools collaborate to create skilled welders
A new certificate program in welding will be offered by GBCC and held at the SST facility. The program is designed to provide graduates with training for entry and intermediate jobs in five major welding processes, including MIG, TIG, Stick, Oxy-fuel and Plasma. Instruction on blue print reading, electricity and fabrication techniques will also be provided.
An information session on the new program will be held at SST from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today. A half-hour presentation will be followed by a tour and a question and answer session.
According to the AWS, there are currently 600,000 welding jobs available in the United States.
Theberge said he has more job opportunities than students to put into them and expects the outlet will remain open, largely because many of the baby boomers are leaving the trades, and their spots cannot be filled fast enough.
"This program is a major step in the right direction to fulfill the needs of manufacturers across the region," Theberge said.
"Finding journey-level skilled welders has been difficult due to the uniqueness of the specialized welder skill set required to conduct the complex work of overhauling and repairing nuclear-powered submarines," Eddy said. "However, the Shipyard's robust apprentice program provides an individual the unique skill set to understand and master this demanding trade."
She said the addition of the GBCC curriculum will provide benefit to the entire Seacoast area.
Aaron Govoni, project manager with R.H. White Construction in Bow, said in general the construction industry is an aging one so the need for skilled labor across the industry is huge, including welders, pipefitters and concrete workers.
He said local distribution companies for natural gas and pipeline, R.H. White Construction's major clients, have their own welding program individuals need to qualify for in order to work in the sensitive industry.
"If the Keystone Pipeline goes, there is going to be a huge demand for welders in the Midwest I'm sure. This is a good opportunity to get people ready if there is a huge surge in workload," Govoni said.The new welding certificate program will be offered in the evenings at SST and will consist of three 12-week semesters beginning Feb. 24. SST houses a dedicated welding lab with 14 welding booths and plasma cutting capabilities.
The certificate program through GBCC can accommodate up to 18 students.
Will Arvelo, president of Great Bay Community College, said the college has had a close partnership with SST for many years.
He said SST is also very interested in wanting to create pathways from SST to community college and onto university.