Big changes are coming for the Welding Technology course at the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) this year. Not only is enrollment the highest for the welding program for the first time ever, construction is underway for an outdoor welding lab to simulate field conditions for students intending to pursue outdoor work.
Simply put, “Welding in a shop is different than welding in a ditch,” said SCCTC executive director Dr. Alice Davis, who noted that the school is always looking to add more contextual (hands-on) learning to the curriculum. Previously, the biggest assignment the students could take on in the shop was putting two 12-foot pipes together. “They knew how to weld the pipe together but not how it feels to lift it and move it.”
The idea is one of many program enhancements that come from the school’s advisory committee, which is a combination of educators and industry leaders. Not only did it make sense to move the classes outside when so many of the students are looking for jobs in the gas fields, the increased enrollment called for additional learning space.
Students will experience welding on the ground, in culverts, on slopes and rely on welding equipment from trucks. We’re not aware of any other CTC in the area doing this.
In addition to supporting the program with EITC dollars, Coterra and GasSearch Drilling Services (GDS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coterra, have donated equipment and practice pipe in the past. To assist with the new construction plans, our buddies at Down to Earth Equipment Rental moved all the pipes from one side of the campus to the new site. “There was a good amount of pipe to move,” GDS operations manager Chad Gorman told us. “Down to Earth donated a front-end loader with pipe handlers to make the job easier. They did a nice job stacking it.”
According to Dr. Davis, financial aid is available to adult learners (who qualify) in courses of 150 hours or more. “Several employers would help pay for your training, especially for jobs in high demand like CDL or welding. This, along with financial aid further reduces your debt.” Businesses and industries have indicated that welders are in high demand.
The face of the Welding Technologies staff at SCCTC has also undergone some changes. Students this year will be greeted by instructors Adam Kavaka and Brian Pennypacker and lab assistant James Johnson. Please visit the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center website to learn more about the Welding Technology course.