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Welding Tower Grant Received

Students, faculty and staff will soon be able to watch the sparks fly as a tower is built as a new addition to the welding department.

WVU Parkersburg received a grant from the Community and Technical College System to construct a welding tower. The tower will be constructed behind the Applied Technology Center (ATC).

Our very own WVU Parkersburg is the only college in West Virginia to have the available equipment and tower to teach the skills of welding in an elevated environment.

“I see the tower as a great training opportunity for companies that may need to get employees trained in elevated welding. Creating cohesive partnerships is a win for the college,” said Michele Wilson, executive director of Workforce Development, Corporation Training and Community Education Division.

The tower, which is designed to  increase students’ welding skills, will also prepare them for job opportunities and trainings. In response to business and industry demands, a welding shop was built as the confined space apparatus last year.

The tower addition will not only broaden the skills provided, but also has the potential to increase student enrollment.

“We have gone from 25 students three years ago and I think we have around 125 students now,” believes Kyle Maston, welding instructor.

Maston said students who complete the program are well positioned to enter the workforce.

“The welding program completion rate is around 85 percent,” said Maston.

A high-percentage completion rate is an outstanding indication of a successful program.

Construction on the tower will begin soon, but an exact date has yet to be determined. It should be completed around the first of May,” Dave White, Director of Facility and Grounds, believes.  The weather is a huge factor because of outside construction, but work is expected to begin soon.

In a confined space, high in the air, the welders will be throwing sparks in the new open air tower very soon.

by Sheena Cox

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