CMCC includes welding in free training program

·2 min read

Aug. 8—AUBURN — Central Maine Community College has added a welding academy to the growing list of skills and training offered through the Center for Workforce and Professional Development.

The course consists of three consecutive weeks, 40 hours of hands-on training each week by an industry expert. After satisfactory completion of the course, students will have basic welding certification that will make them eligible for an entry-level position where they can expect to earn $40,000 per year or more to start.

Funding for the program comes through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which has allocated about $1 billion in discretionary funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, with the approval of the Legislature and is Jobs Plan initiative. The course is open to those who are dislocated, unemployed or underemployed or whose job was adversely affected by COVID-19. Students must be at least 18 years old, Maine residents by completion of the program, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be a U.S. citizen or have authorization to work here.

Forrest Stone is the new welding coordinator at the college. The Maine artist and metal fabricator who has also done stainless steel component fabrication for the Blue Origin space rocket, sanitary stainless steel welding for New England breweries, Bissell Brothers brewers, fabrication of 3D metal printing chambers for Desktop Metals out of Massachusetts, used in the production of the electric Ford F-150.

The welding classroom is an addition to the precision machine shop being put together. Class instruction includes safety training, tool and equipment use, how to make different welds, and how to test the strength of those welds.

Dwayne Conway is the dean of workforce development at CMCC.

"As you know, there's an abundance of work out there, so employers are certainly recruiting, so the graduates will have lots of options," he said.

The National Association of Manufacturers reports that the number of open jobs in the manufacturing sector has more than doubled since before the pandemic and that employers everywhere are struggling to find qualified candidates.

Conway said he's hopeful the school will be able to offer more advanced welding classes in the future. Funding is there for the next 18 months or so, he said.

There are 24 free training classes offered, from trade skills, to health care, to information technology and land surveying at CMCC's Center for Workforce and Professional Development.

Welding classes are tentatively set for Aug. 15, with a limit of 20 students per class. A new group will be formed every three weeks.

Register online or contact the Center for Workforce and Professional Development if you need more information at 207-755-5280.