Weld-Ed receives $2.9 million award from National Science Foundation
ELYRIA, OH (August 09, 2011): The National Center for Welding Education and Training has been awarded a $2.9 million funding grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Center -- known as Weld-Ed and housed on the campus of Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio -- will use the three-year continuing grant to strengthen its efforts to advance educational curricula and instructor professional development in an ongoing effort to increase the number of certified welding technicians to meet workforce demands around the country.
According to the “National State of the Welding Industry Report,” published by Weld-Ed, the welding industry is currently scrambling to meet the hiring needs of at least 30,000 additional welding professionals annually, in an effort to produce 238,000 new and replacement workers through 2019.
To do that, the industry must acclimate to changing technology and increasingly specialized fields, according to Duncan Estep, center director and co-PI of Weld-Ed. Monica Pfarr is named as Principal Investigator on the grant.
“As the welding and materials joining industries continue to evolve and become progressively technical, so too must the caliber of trained welding technicians,” commented Estep. “This award will enable Weld-Ed to expand its curriculum, professional development, research and recruitment activities -and fortify our role as a vital resource and partner to the community colleges, universities, workforce agencies and business and trade members that make up the industry.”
The NSF grant will enable Weld-Ed to pursue several objectives the center has outlined, including:
Developing a national welding educators' certificate program;
Expanding professional development for welding faculty in new technologies, including blended learning, virtual simulation, and new and emerging welding processes;
Expanding and increasing the effectiveness of the Center and its Regional Partners Network to address market-driven needs, including regional welding technician specialization, and the use of distance learning applications in sharing curricula between institutions and in delivering coursework; and
Developing and implementing a strategy to deliver technical assistance and consulting services to community and technical colleges, universities, K-12 school districts and the welding industry.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, Weld-Ed’s partner community and technical colleges and universities educated more than 4,000 welding technicians and graduated more than 1,700 students (with nearly 100 percent of those graduates immediately finding employment opportunities in welding-related positions around the country). Weld-Ed graduates have become essential to the industries that sustain the U.S. economy, including the automotive, shipbuilding, aerospace, mining, petrochemical extraction and refining industries; and the defense and energy sectors.
For more information, visit www.Weld-Ed.org or call (866) 529-9353.