As of the start of the spring semester on Jan. 6, 2020, Sinclair is offering students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the welding field and an inside track to job openings upon graduation.
While the program had been defunct for over 20 years, the lab is being housed in an off-campus facility at 37 Eaker St. after rising demand from employers in the Gem City.
“Sinclair works with employers to align program offerings with industry needs,” Anthony Ponder, Dean of the Science, Mathematics and Engineering Department at Sinclair, said. “There is a huge need for workers in welding in today’s workforce and we are the forefront of meeting this need.
“Employers told Sinclair there was an urgent need for technicians with skills in welding, Since Sinclair was already offering manufacturing-based courses at the Eaker Street facility it seemed appropriate to place the welding lab at that location.”
Sinclair’s board of trustees approved more than $230,000 to equip the lab with welding stations, ventilation equipment and personal protective gear in spring 2019, while construction of the lab commenced in fall of the same year. The site was formerly owned by Caperna Family Limited, a Kettering-based property management company.
The program will teach students skills such as performing different welding techniques on steel, learning how to bend and shear sheet metal and the process of spot weldings as part of a project to build a toolbox.
“According to the vendor, the welding units obtained by Sinclair are utilized in more than 400 teaching facilities across the US; including vocational schools, high schools, colleges and union training facilities,” Ponder said. “These booths utilize sophisticated electronics that sense when an arc has been initiated and then automatically engage systems designed to keep fumes to a minimum.
“Along with all of the required safety equipment and hand tools, the Miller Multimatic 220 AC/DC gives the students the opportunity to learn MIG, TIG and Stick (ARC) welding. The lab also has two oxy-acetylene units for cutting and brazing; other key welding techniques. All of the equipment used by students is essential to providing them with the skills required for entry-level positions within the many facets of the welding industry,” Ponder said.
Interest in the welding course has been strong. More than 30 individuals have contacted Sinclair about the welding course after seeing the television spots highlighting the new lab. It is one of the 260 workforce-aligned degrees and certificate programs targeting in-demand jobs in the region, according to college officials.
“Sinclair is currently working to develop additional welding courses which will be embedded in programs such as Automotive Technology, Precision Machining, or CNC Machining,” Ponder said. “Before developing a welding program Sinclair will meet with key stakeholders to solicit input as to the makeup of that degree program.”
According to the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association (DRMA), the demand is high for skilled workers in the field.
“Technically skilled and productive workers are in very short supply in the Dayton region,” the DRMA stated in a summary of results from a recent survey.
“Sinclair’s Office of Work-Based Learning is well-positioned to assist students in finding an internship or apprenticeship,” Ponder said. “Both internships and apprenticeships are great ways to enter the world of work.”
The welding program is the latest in a series of new associate degree programs rolled out by the college in the past year. Others include Agricultural Sciences, Business Analytics, Aviation Technology, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Computer Science.
“Sinclair is on the move, and at the community’s request we have invested in and delivered many new workforce-aligned programs of study,” said Dr. Steven Johnson, president of Sinclair in a January press release. “We’re especially thrilled to announce our new welding courses this term. At a time, when we are talking about increasing the pipeline of skilled workers, Sinclair is at the forefront, meeting this very need. We are pleased to be able to continue providing the region with increasing opportunities for a solid college education and workforce development.”
College officials state that nearly 40,000 degrees and certificates have been earned by Sinclair students. Additionally, roughly 90% of Sinclair graduates stay in the region to work and raise their families, according to the college.