CFCC’s Burgaw campus graduates first class of welding students

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Seven students recently graduated from CFCC's new welding program in Burgaw. Photos courtesy CFCC.
Seven students recently graduated from CFCC’s new welding program in Burgaw. Photos courtesy CFCC.

Cape Fear Community College’s fledgling welding program at the Burgaw campus can now boast its first set of graduates–and a boost of $10,000 in grant funding.

According to a release from the college, seven students–Josh Huffman, Nazareth Adams, Dennis Yott, Raymond Pickett, Sr., Mike Smith, Randall Hall and Leon Rooks–recently successfully completed the program.

The program was created last year through a $147,592 grant from Duke Energy. The grant is part of Duke Energy’s $6.7 million investment in N.C. community colleges’ focus on technical education.
Duke Energy announced this week that it would give another $10,000 to supply welding kits to students for the upcoming academic year.

“We are so happy to celebrate with our graduates…and we appreciate Duke Energy’s continued support. CFCC is excited to expand our course offerings in Pender County, and this grant award will help to make training programs like these more accessible to our students. This grant underscores Duke Energy’s commitment to job training in our area,” CFCC president Dr. Amanda Lee said.

Prior to the grant, welding was only offered on CFCC’s north campus in Castle Hayne.

The new program was made possible through a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.
The new program was made possible through a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.

The funds were used specifically to get certified metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding training programs up and running, covering the retrofitting of existing space and the purchase of needed equipment. It also provided professional development funding for instructors to ensure they are most effectively teaching students how to operate complex and state-of-the-art machinery.

“It is exciting to be a part of the new CFCC welding program and to work with students striving to learn new skills,” welding instructor Fleet Spell said. “As the demand for highly skilled welding grows, so do the opportunities for our students. I look forward to working with new students as they enter this program.”

Graduates all had to pass testing regulated by the American Welder’s Society and have earned certificates of completion in Welding Fundamentals, MIG and TIG. In total, these students have completed 405 hours of training over an average of six months.

Duke Energy Foundation’s additional $10,000 grant will help offset the cost of required welding kits each student must purchase in addition to tuition, fees and books. Kits cost approximately $190.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Cape Fear Community College to develop a highly-skilled workforce that will attract and retain businesses in the region for years to come,” John Elliott, Duke Energy’s director of government and community relations, said.