Welding program becomes high in demand in Elkhart County

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(Jennifer Shephard/Elkhart Truth)

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Welding has become a high-demand skill in Elkhart County and a new educational program aims to help generate a supply of workers to meet the need.

Ivy Tech Community College will offer introductory MIG welding, advanced MIG welding and introduction to welding classes during the college’s spring semester beginning Jan. 17, according to a press release. The classes at Ivy Tech’s 22531 C.R. 18 campus will offer structural level instruction and help students become certified in the MIG welding process.

The initial classes, open to anyone, will have room for 10 students and some have already begun to apply. Financial aid is available, as well as a scholarships through the Mittler Family Foundation.

In addition to learning professionalism, students will learn about equipment maintenance, how to identify welding defects and machine troubleshooting. Participants will be certified by May.

“This program is geared toward what we are hearing local industry needs,” said Gary Stoika, a full-time faculty member at Ivy Tech’s South Bend campus. “By the time these students are done in May, they will have the ability to walk in to any job and do the job that is requested of them. They will have the same skill level as someone with a few years of experience.”

Stoika said local industries absorb welders “like a sponge.” He said he sees a lot of Elkhart County students travel to South Bend for training and that the new classes will offer them the ability to get a certificate closer to home.

Randy Kuta, welding department program chair at Ivy Tech, said that if the spring program goes well, the school hopes to offer the program again in the fall. He said that the classes will be staffed with instructors who have decades of welding experience.

“This is a job that takes skill to do well,” he said.

Stoika believes the program would have an immediate impact on students and become attractive to local factories and recreational vehicle plants.

“For individuals looking to provide for their families immediately,” he said, “this is the program they want to enroll in.”

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Source: The Elkhart Truth

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