After a decade of successfully training and placing students in welding positions at more than 30 Granite State organizations, the White Mountains Community College’s (WMCC) advanced welding programs will be expanding this year through a new Associate in Trades Management degree offering in the fall of 2017. The new program will provide graduates with more training for leadership skills introduced in WMCC’s welding, advanced welding and industrial maintenance certificates.
The advanced welding programs offer an education experience that is heavy on hands-on learning. As much as 90 percent of the instruction takes place in a lab. It also provides career preparation training to assist students with resumes, mock interviews, and networking opportunities with local companies to refine soft skills.
To date, 100 percent of its job-seeking students complete the program with a job waiting for them. Some companies hiring WMCC grads include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Westinghouse Electric and Cianbro among others.
“Attitude and the desire to learn are major tenets of our program, so we focus on hands-on learning and the skills that will help the student excel in his or her career,” said Michael J. Pike, a Welding Technology instructor and the program’s coordinator at White Mountains Community College. “Because of the flexibility and stackability of our certificates and Associate degree structure, we see people of all ages and experience attracted to this program and the pathways to employment that it creates.”
That includes recent graduate Walter Luikey from Glen, NH who at 80 years young, completed a welding certificate and returned to work with the Eastern Millwright Regional Council’s New England Local Union #1121, one of WMCC’s welding program’s hallmark partners. Millwrights are precision craftsmen who install, upgrade, maintain, diagnose, and repair complex and intricate machinery for many industries. Continuously employed throughout his career, he took his updated skill set and past experience running his own business, to update his skills and further advance his career.
The base for WMCC’s program is the Advanced Welding Certificate, a full time, two semester program. Graduates learn the core applications of the welding trade, as well necessary safety, blueprint reading and other skills needed for employment in today’s welding industry. The certificate provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve certification in multiple processes by including test preparation as part of the course.
WMCC’s Pike helped launch the school’s Welding Technology degree and certificate programs
10 years ago, borne out of the State of New Hampshire’s desire to help workers who had been laid off and bolster the workforce for skilled manufacturing.
“The contractors I work for continuously recognize the value of tradesman with a welding background,” said Albert Marquis from Colebrook, who completed training at WMCC in August of 2015. “My experience in the WMCC Welding Program enabled me to secure more work as a millwright welder.”
But not all the work falls on students and instructors. WMCC’s welding program industry partners are active participants, frequently speaking to classes about what they look for in employees. This makes it easier to make connections within the industry while introducing students to job opportunities – Pike says students have had up to 11 different job offers waiting for them upon completion of the program.
To learn more about the program and how to enroll, visit wmcc.edu or contact Pike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Mountains Community College (WMCC) has a main campus in Berlin, New Hampshire and academic centers in Littleton and North Conway and is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire. WMCC offers Associate Degree and Certificate programs, plus training options, preparing students for 21st century job opportunities as well as transfer pathways to four-year colleges and universities. WMCC is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Our courses are the most affordable in New Hampshire and our Littleton Academic Center makes us accessible to all students in the North Country Region. Courses are available day, evening and online. WMCC courses transfer to four-year colleges and universities in New Hampshire and across the country. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.