Over the last few years, the Welding Technology program at Kishwaukee College has grown significantly to meet employer demand for welders and fabricators. One of the challenges they faced along the way was the ability to make technical skill development apply to the real world problems students’ face.
For many years students would gain welding experience by joining small 6-8” pieces of metal, referred to as coupons. These coupons were great for learning welding processes and positions, but did not harness the exact skill set local employers sought in a welder. To assist students in their welding and fabrication skills, a need arose for a piece of machinery that would cut metal to a size necessary for specific large-scale projects. This costly piece of machinery, a large metal shear, would take the Welding Technology program to the next level.
In June of 2016, through donor generosity to the Community Foundation, a grant was made to Kishwaukee College, aiding in the purchase of the metal shear. With the new shear in place and the capacity to cut material up to 1/4 thick, the College’s plan for enhancing their welding curriculum took another step forward.
A new welding course was introduced in the fall of 2016, WT 133 Intro to Fabrication. Within this course students work on projects that truly represent the challenges faced in joining a wide range of materials and products. Students are better suited for the local welding workforce with these additional skills, creating greater value for themselves and their employers.
“This is an excellent example of the community partnerships working together to train and educate our future workforce,” said Kishwaukee College President Laurie Borowicz. “The Community Foundation stepped in to help our program have the equipment required for faculty to teach these skills to our students and meet the needs of local business and industry. We are very grateful for their generosity.”
Kishwaukee College is one of six American Welding Society (AWS) Accredited Testing Facilities in Illinois. Though the addition of the shear was not a critical part in earning the AWS designation, the shear is a necessary part of the fabrication curriculum. Students now have the opportunity to complete their AWS certification at Kishwaukee College, a comfortable and familiar environment. In years past, only a small handful of students who took the certification welding class went on to take the test. This year alone, 10 students have taken their certification test at the College. Of the 10 who attempted their AWS certification, eight were successful in earning their credentials.
Grants like these made to the Kishwaukee College Welding Technology program are possible through donor generosity to undesignated funds (community impact funds). Undesignated funds allow the Community Foundation Board of Directors to respond to needs and opportunities in communities throughout DeKalb County.
If “giving where it’s needed most” inspires you, consider making a gift to an undesignated fund or start one of your own. For questions or more information, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or email@example.com.
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