Registration is now under way at the Union County Advanced Technology Center for the 2016 spring semester including the center’s very popular welding program.
Site Coordinator Kathy Jo Lancaster said Monday that registration began on Oct. 11 and will continue through early January. Lancaster said that, as in past semesters, the center will offer a number of classes that are quite popular with Union County residents who find it convenient to take them locally. She said the UCATC’s ability to offer these courses is a result of the partnerships it has formed with a wide range of local private and public organizations that is helping the center provide an important educational/economic service to the community.
“Welding, advanced manufacturing, and health care courses are the most popular classes for Union County residents,” Lancaster said. “Through these course offerings were making progress toward our primary goal which is to focus on workforce development through our facilities, programs, and educational training.
“Through our partnerships with local government, the city and county of Union, our school district, and most importantly, our business and industrial sectors, the Advanced Technology Center has been able to offer technical programs and customized training to one hundred percent of the county’s industrial and manufacturing companies,” she said. “These partnerships have been a key factor in assisting us in developing, aligning, and offering educational programs in Union County.”
Welding is the most popular course offered at the center which has been graduating welders since the fall of 2011. A large part of its popularity is the demand for welders both locally, regionally, and beyond. The demand for welders, which Lancaster said is expected to continue growing over the next four years, has enabled all the graduates of the welding program at the UCATC to find jobs following graduation.
“This particular field has a 100 percent placement rate,” Lancaster said. “All the guys who have graduated from here have gone on to find employment in the field.”
Lancaster pointed out that 90 percent of the graduates of the center’s welding program find work locally and in the region working in manufacturing and/or construction.
“On the local level, our graduates are working for companies such as Gestamp, Timken, Haemonetics, ESAB, and Parts & Machinery,” Lancaster said. “Some are working in construction for companies such as GE, BMW, Michelin, Flour, and CB&I.”
Lancaster pointed out that demand for welders is expected to continue growing.
“Welding is one of the few career choices that seem to be in high demand at all times,” Lancaster said. “Employment growth is expected to increase twenty percent by 2020.”
Lancaster said the ability of graduates to go work so quickly after graduation is due to their versatility and because of the level of accredited training they receive at the center.
“They are versatile, they have basic skills that can be utilized in many areas, making them more employable and valuable to employers,” Lancaster said. “We’re seeing a huge increase in the number of welding schools and in enrollment in welding programs. Union County is fortunate to have an excellent facility in our community offering our academic credit in welding which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Employers recognize the high quality of such an accreditation and the high standards of the program.”
Lancaster said that there are “only sixteen slots in the welding program and it is first come first served” and she urged all those interested in registering for the course to do so as soon as possible.
For more information about the courses offered by the Union County Advanced Technology Center and/or registering for the 2016 spring semester call 864-466-1060.
The Union County Advanced Technology Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday.