A recently acquired mobile welding lab will be an asset to students interested in careers in welding, as well as employers looking to fill jobs requiring that skillset.
According to Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Director Angela Lawhorne, who coordinated the effort, the eight-bay portable classroom will offer training in the
4-week Fast Track Welding program, as well as the Virginia Ship Repair Association’s Marine Trade Training Welding program.
Students completing the Fast Track program are eligible to test for American Welding Society (AWS) Certification and those finishing the marine welding program are candidates for shipyard jobs.
“There is a growing demand for welders in the Hampton Roads area, especially in our shipyards,” said Lawhorne. According to O*Net Online, Virginia has a projected growth of 6 percent from 2016 to 2026 for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers with 870 job openings over that 10-year span.
The lab is currently located at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus on Kenyon Road, but will soon be able to be transported throughout the college’s service region to high schools, prisons, and employer sites.
“One thing we continue to do at Camp is constantly evaluate our programs and make every effort to stay on top of what will best serve the community and our employers,” said Camp President Dr. Dan Lufkin. “This mobile unit will make training much more accessible for so many more students.”
Besides the eight bays, the new mobile lab features a work area and instructor’s office. The facility is wheelchair accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Camp was able to obtain the welding lab due to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s (SCHEV) Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund. SCHEV shares administrative responsibilities for this fund with the Virginia College Building Authority and the Virginia Department of Treasury.
According to Lawhorne, many scholarships and grants exist to help keep the cost of training low for most students in programs like welding. For more information about Camp’s workforce welding programs, visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development, or call 757-569-6050 to be placed on the wait list.