Welding Roadshow travels to Arroyo Seco

College of the Canyons welding instructor Allen Pinley, right, helps Arroyo Seco Junior High students weld during a demonstration by COC's welding department on Friday, March 24, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

College of the Canyons (COC) took its Advanced Manufacturing and Processing Training (AMPT) project on the road when it brought live welding processes and a virtual reality welding trainer to Arroyo Seco Junior High School Friday.

“We want to get them interested at a junior high school level,” said Tim Baber, a COC professor and chair of the AMPT department.  “This is real world training that goes back to STEM.”

The goal of the roadshow is to introduce students to career and educational opportunities within welding and manufacturing.

“This is a great opportunity to expose kids to welding and manufacturing,” said Gabrielle Temple, COC’s National Science Foundation (NSF) administrator.

Temple and Baber said the roadshow also reframes the old notion of manufacturing jobs and demonstrates how high-tech the career field is today.

Brielle Holst, 12, smiles as Sergio Montiel of Lincoln Electric helps to secure a virtual welding mask during a demonstration by the College of the Canyons welding program at Arroyo Seco Junior High on Friday, March 24, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

“High-level skills are required for welding and manufacturing,” Temple said.  “There are so many good, high-paying jobs out there in this industry.”

Friday’s trip to Arroyo Seco marked the first time to roadshow had traveled off site to a junior high school.  The trip was made possible through an AMPT grant to develop curriculum and a pathway for advanced manufacturing and welding.

“We’re thankful for the opportunity to bring this to this school with the AMPT grant,” Baber said.  “We hope to get the word out and have more opportunities to share this with students and get them interested at this level.”

Mike McCleary, department chair of engineering at Arroyo Seco, said he was happy his students had the opportunity to try welding and explore a new field.

“This is a brand new thing and a unique experience which is very valuable to them,” he said.  “I hope they learn that welding isn’t scary, that they can do it if they try.”

Eighth grade students Blake Brown and Cody Faust said they enjoyed the roadshow and would be interested in trying welding again.

“I want to do it again,” Brown said.  “It was cool.”

Baber hopes the day-long roadshow illustrates the importance of advanced manufacturing and the opportunities available to students of all ages.

“As a society, we’re coming back into it,” Baber said.  “We need to get back to those basic skills of applied training.”

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