Midlands Technical College held a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony for the college’s new Welding Technology Center Wednesday. The education and training facility is located on Kentucky Avenue at the Airport Campus.
“Year after year, welding programs are among our most in-demand," said Dr. Ron Rhames, MTC president. "In fact, job data shows that in an average month, employers face about 3-dozen welding vacancies in Fairfield, Lexington and Richland Counties."
The new building represents a $4.5 million capital investment, with 64 welding bays. The Airport campus now has 19 additional bays, multipurpose classrooms, a fabrication area and exterior teaching stations offering a more flexible workspace.
“We had outgrown the old building in terms of size and capability,” said Ray Thomas, dean of MTC’s school of advanced manufacturing and skilled trades. “The new facility is equipped with the latest technology our students will use when they begin or expand their careers.”
MTC's newest addition is the result of renovation and expansion of the college's industrial building, which was originally built in 1967. Training programs were taught there until those programs moved to the new advanced manufacturing and skilled crafts center in 2016. MTC also operates a welding center at its Fairfield campus, which has 12 welding stations.
"Statistics from the American Welding Society show that by 2025 our nation will face a shortage of more than 400,000 welding professionals who are needed to build everything from cars and planes to buildings and bridges," said Barrie Kirk, MTC's Provost. "With this new center at MTC, we will be able to help fill those openings in our area by training 150 welders each year."