Chico, Calif. – For North State business leaders the focus of how to build sustainable economic growth is an ongoing issue. Part of that discussion also includes how to find trained and qualified employees.
In a recent Action News Now segment, Morning Anchor Julia Yarbough explored how leaders in the construction industry explained the realities of facing shortages of skilled labor within the construction field.
Further exploration on the subject revealed the welding industry is experiencing the same conditions. To address what could be an obstacle to future economic growth, Butte College in Oroville, is tackling the situation.
The college is expanding its program to give hands-on welding training to students.
One of those students in 23 year old Logan Huber, who will finish the program in August, 2018. He says he believes there is plenty of work available for welders. Once he completes the course, he will leave the college possessing a coveted set of skills and have the qualifications to enter a lucrative field.
Huber says he has spoken to lot of people who have previously completed the welding training course and they tell him, they have had experienced no problems finding jobs.
Butte College currently offers hands-on welding training for 60 students. During the course, students learn all the necessary skills to be able to enter the workforce. And, it is a field which is in high demand. Currently there is a wait list to enter the program, with an almost two year advance time.
Consider that welding is in most everything we use, including our computers and homes. The construction of bridges, planes, trains and automobiles rely on the skills welders bring to the table. Educators in the field describe welding as, “something that is everywhere we look.”
Don Robinson is the Director of Industrial Technology Programs at Butte College. He says he learned how to weld at age seven from his father and grandfather. He says the ‘spark’ of interest came early and has stayed a full career. For some 20 years he has taught other students the art. He explains, manufacturing sectors are experiencing a shortage of skilled labor and welders are a large part of that equation.
The Butte College welding program, with its hands-on approach, is about to expand. In one way to address the need for welders and stave off a growing shortage of skilled labor, Butte College is breaking ground on a new, 18.1-million dollar welding and manufacturing facility.
The new building and program will serve 92 students; up from 60. It is an expansion those in the field hope will fill the need of employers hungry for skilled labor.
The program will offer a new opportunity to students who have the interest, the desire and the willingness to work hard in a career of working with their hands.
Butte College anticipates the new facility to be completed by September of 2019, with new classes starting shortly after that.