March 31, 2022
Tallahassee Community College has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art Welding Technologies Laboratory (WTL) to the public at the Kim B. Williams Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) on the main campus of TCC. The expanded lab, which mirrors an actual welding work environment, provides a realistic workplace for students. This program expansion was needed to meet the growing demand for welders throughout the region, state, and nation. The facility will allow the number of students trained in a class to double from 15 students to 30, increasing the number of students that can be admitted into each program cohort and enter the workforce and begin addressing the critical skilled worker shortage.
“This facility will expand our capacity to provide more individuals with the opportunity to pursue a high-demand career while also addressing our region's increased need for industry professionals,” said Jim Murdaugh, President of Tallahassee Community College. “We are proud to play our part in ensuring our local talent meets the needs of our community."
TCC offers both an Introduction to Welding course which can be completed in a matter of months. Additionally, TCC also offers a longer welding program that can be completed in just four semesters and consists of at least 65% hands-on activities. While enrolled in the program, students have the opportunity to earn a Construction OSHA Safety Card, a National Center for Construction and Education Research (NCCER) Welding certification, and membership in the American Welding Society. These industry credentials are not only recognized in the State of Florida but registered into a national database.
“The expansion of our Welding Technologies Laboratory (WTL) is yet another example of TCC’s commitment to listening to our employers regarding their workforce needs and responding”, stated Dr. Kimberly A. Moore, Vice President for Workforce Innovation, “Now, like never before there is a need to be nimble and responsive as the competition and demand for the skilled trade worker increases and this is a call that TCC Workforce Development stands ready to answer.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Welding as an occupational area that has a projection of 49,200 job openings each year. Statewide, there are an estimated 2,000 welding vacancies paying an average salary of $44,190. More than 50 percent of U.S. products require welding.
In 2019, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming awarded TCC a $1.2 million grant to support the effort. Additional funding was received from an anonymous donor which funded 10 welding booths and 13 full scholarships specifically for residents of Wakulla County.
“We are thankful for the backing from the business community, Dr. John Fleming, our District Board of Trustees and the TCC Foundation who support our commitment to focus on the skilled trades and providing the necessary training to produce skilled workers ready to enter the workforce,” said Dr. Kimberly Moore, Vice President for Workforce Innovation at TCC.