More than a third of the 11 students competing in Spartanburg Community College’s annual welding competition are enrolled at the Union County Advanced Technology Center.
Welding Instructor Jason Pace and Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster announced this week that four students in UCATC’s Welding Program have been selected to compete for the chance to represent the Spartanburg Community College system in the spring State Welding Competition which will be held at the end of April at Tri-County Tech in Pendleton.
“My supervisor from central has called me and said he wanted me to select students who would place well in competition,” Pace said. “He wants me to send their work to the central campus welding lab to be judged by an independent welding inspector. He will make the decision as to who will represent SCC.”
Pace and Lancaster pointed out that three campuses — the main or central campus in Spartanburg, Tyger River, and the UCATC — offer welding programs. As of Tuesday morning, 11 students from those programs — four of them students at the Advanced Technology Center — have been selected to compete for a chance to go to the state competition.
The four students are Spencer Woodson, Joshua Trantham, Chase Austin, and Cole Ferrell.
Of the six categories in the competition, Pace said that the UCATC would be represented by these students in the following categories:
• Spencer Woodson — Category V — GTAW Pipe and SMAW Pipe 6S 45 degrees Carbon Steel.
• Joshua Trantham — Category IV — SMAW Pipe 6G 45 degrees Carbon Steel.
• Chase Austin — Category II — SMAW Tee Joint 3F/4F Vertical/Overhead Carbon Steel.
• Cole Ferrell — SMAW Butt Joint 3G/4G Vertical/Overhead Carbon Steel.
If their work is selected to represent SCC at the state competition and if they win there, the students could receive prizes that will be useful to them in their careers as welders.
“Last year’s first place winners in most categories took home welding machines donated by ESAB in Florence-Darlington,” Pace said. “The second place winners received cutting torch equipment and third place received welding tools and personal protective equipment.”
The welding program at UCATC has been the center’s most popular class and its most successful in terms of graduates quickly and successfully entering the workforce.
“We are extremely proud of our welding students at the UCATC,” Lancaster said. “Under Jason’s direction and leadership these young men have been given an awesome opportunity to learn the skills needed to secure employment in hi-tech, in-demand fields.
“Those that graduate from the program here get jobs,” she said. “We have had eight graduate from the program and all got jobs as welders. We have a one hundred percent placement rate.”
Lancaster pointed out the demand for welders is continuing to grow and welding programs like those offered at UCATC are vital to meeting that demand and giving Union County residents the opportunity to fill the jobs being created and reap the benefits they offer.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next seven years, the construction industry is expected to grow 2.6 percent annually,” Lancaster said. “This will lead to about 1.6 million jobs during the time period making the construction craft one of the fastest growing of all manufacturing sectors. As a result it is crucial that we provide an awareness of opportunities in the welding field and offer training programs for students to prepare for the workforce.”
For more information about the Union County Advanced Technology Center, its welding program and the other programs it offers call 864-466-1060.
View article as it appears on UnionDailyTimes.com