By Richy Huneycutt

Welding, often referred to as the “art of joining metals,” is a skill that bridges the realms of craftsmanship and technology. It’s a trade that’s not only foundational to modern infrastructure but also offers a pathway to lucrative and fulfilling careers. At Lenoir Community College, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of welding, honing their skills under the guidance of experienced instructors and a newly renovated lab.

The Welding Technology Program provides students with a solid foundation in welding theory, safety procedures, and practical skills. Whether they’re aspiring welders looking to enter the workforce or seasoned professionals seeking to enhance their expertise, students benefit from a curriculum that covers various welding processes, including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW,) and tungsten inert gas welding (TIG).

“We emphasize hands-on learning,” says LCC Welding Technology Program Chair Cameron Kolb. “In addition to classroom instruction, students spend ample time in the welding lab, where they have the chance to practice their skills under the guidance of experienced instructors.”

The newly renovated lab is equipped with state-of-the-art welding equipment and tools, providing students with a realistic simulation of industry environments. “We have updated the shop to now have half Miller and half Lincoln machines so students can get used to using a variety of machines,” he says. “We have also added a 4’ x 8’ CNC plasma table. Each booth has been upgraded with new dividers, curtains, ventilation, and jig tables. With the addition of everything, students have greater opportunity for developing skills for employment.”

“Many of our students are working in the field while attending college,” says Kolb. “Through industry partnerships and work-based learning programs, students have a chance to gain practical experience in a professional setting, further enhancing their employability upon graduation.”

Welding student Louise Powell of Pink Hill says the faculty are patient and are well prepared to handle each student’s needs. “I get real one-on-one time when needed. I chose to go into welding for a couple of reasons, mostly as a seasoned mechanic I felt that welding was the next step I should learn. I also wanted to learn how to weld to make wind chimes and garden spinners, you know the art. I am hoping to get into a small shop where I can do both.”

“I chose to go into welding to further my career at Crown where I’m already working as a welder,” says student Eddie Martinez of Deep Run. “The Program provided me with the education to hone my skills. I love working in the industry.”

The Welding Technology Program also focuses on safety. “In an inherently hazardous field like welding, safety is paramount. Students are trained to identify potential hazards, use personal protective equipment effectively, and adhere to industry safety standards and regulations. By instilling a culture of safety from the outset, we ensure that our graduates are well-prepared to work safely in any welding environment.”

Kolb says that the Welding Technology Program is designed to accommodate students of all backgrounds and career goals. Whether students are seeking a short-term certificate to enter the workforce quickly or aiming for an associate degree to advance their career prospects, the College offers flexible options to suit their needs.

For more information, visit LCC Welding Technology.