SMCC opens new welding lab to provide companies with skilled workers, enhance career opportunities for Mainers

Southern Maine Community College has opened a new welding lab with state-of-the-art equipment that will provide Maine companies the skilled workers they need to prosper while enhancing career opportunities for Maine residents.

SMCC has purchased 10 new welding stations that are now being used to deliver technical training to prospective employees for General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW). Qualified participants who successfully complete the training will be interviewed for positions at BIW.

“SMCC is devoted to offering affordable, accessible workforce development training that strengthens Maine’s economy,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “These welding stations represent our commitment to help businesses build the workforces they need to grow and thrive, while providing Maine workers the skills they need for high-paying careers with bright futures.”

The new welding equipment is set up in a building leased by BIW a couple of blocks away from SMCC’s Midcoast Campus at Brunswick Landing. The equipment is designed for industrial applications including shipbuilding, construction and fabrication.

SMCC and BIW last year signed an agreement for SMCC to provide welding and other types of skills training to up to 90 prospective employees through SMCC’s Workforce Development Department. With many of its most experienced workers nearing retirement, BIW needs more employees who are trained in specific in-demand skills at the shipyard.

“This program is important to us because it will bring skilled workers to the shipbuilding ranks and further the overall workforce development within the state of Maine as we seek to attract and train a qualified workforce of the future,” said Andrew Bond, Vice President of Human Resources at BIW.

The new welding equipment is portable and can be moved to other locations for future workforce training programs for other companies. The equipment was purchased through a grant from the Maine Quality Centers, which is part of the Maine Community College System and provides customized workforce training grants to Maine employers, with training delivered through SMCC and Maine’s other community colleges.

SMCC’s Business & Community Partnerships Department provides customized skills training for scores of Maine companies, municipalities and organizations. In addition to welding, the department has delivered training to provide Mainers skills that are in demand in culinary, construction, information technology, medical assisting, fire science and other fields.

Photos: These photos show students in SMCC’s Manufacturing Technician Training Course offered through SMCC’s Workforce Development Department. Qualified participants who successfully complete the training will be interviewed for positions at BIW.