Officials optimistic about the possibility of offering additional workforce based classes in the future
By Eugenia Jones
The future looks bright for Somerset Community College’s McCreary Center located in Whitley City. Recent installation of equipment at the Center is allowing SCC’s Workforce Solutions Department to offer a gas metal arc welding (GMAW) production class locally beginning March 25, 2019 and ending May 14, 2019.
With a local offering of the welding class, Somerset Community College’s Vice President of Workforce Solutions, Alesa Johnson, is excited about the likelihood for future opportunities to strengthen workforce education and training in McCreary County-a move that could make the local workforce more competitive and help attract industry to the area.
“We are happy the welding lab is currently at the McCreary Center,” Johnson said. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to offer technical programs such as welding in McCreary County. If interest and demand grows, we are definitely willing to initiate different types of workforce classes-including workforce academic classes allowing students to pursue specific workforce degrees.”
According to Karl Watson, a welding instructor for SCC, this spring’s welding class at the McCreary Center is designed to give job entry level skills to students.
“We’re looking for those with no training in welding at all,” Watson explained. “We’re looking for people off the street with no experience. Our goal, in eight weeks of time, is to empower our students to have the skills needed to get a job in welding.”
The class, which will meet from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, consists of 96 contact or clock hours. Adam Hoskins, welding instructor at the Corbin Area Technology Center and a certified welding inspector, will teach the class.
“We’ve got a well-qualified gentleman teaching the class at the McCreary Center,” Watson noted.
Watson pointed out that welding is one of the largest industries in the world with lots of opportunities for advancement. He noted there are more than five hundred types of welding processes and that educational opportunities, such as acquiring an Associate’s Degree in welding, do exist.
“With welding, there is a lot of opportunity to branch into additional fields such as engineering, sales, and construction,” Watson said. “For those who take advantage of the opportunities, there’s a lot of potential to start with basic welding, grow with it, and then branch into other fields if so desired.”
Johnson reiterated her enthusiasm about the future of workforce training for students at the McCreary Center and her desire to work with the community. She noted mobile labs and equipment, such as those now stationed for welding at the McCreary Center, can be brought in and/or pulled out to make way for additional types of workforce training as need and demand arise.
“We want to hear from the community about the demand and need for workforce classes in the community, “Johnson said excitedly. “We are thrilled to work with the community, schools, and employers about potential opportunities. A well trained workforce attracts industry, and we want this community to thrive and boom. This class in welding is a great start because welding is a wonderful field with lots of opportunities. Going forward, who knows? The sky’s the limit!”
(There are still five slots available for the class. For more information or to register for the GMAW Production Welding Class, please contact Heather Gambrel at 606-451-6692 or email@example.com. Cost of the class is $950.)