Newberg High School Expands Welding Facility with help from PCC

by Kate Chester

Gas Welding

Rob Leavitt (left) and Charlie Osmon
(right), PCC welding students, help
install pre-fabricated walls for 20 new
welding stations at Newberg High School.

A helping hand from Portland Community College has led to major mechanical and electrical upgrades at Newberg High School’s welding lab.

When more than 300 students signed up this year to take welding classes at Newberg High School – an interest matched by local manufacturers’ need for trained welders – the high school and PCC forged a partnership to meet the demand.

Scott Judy, welding department chair at the PCC Rock Creek Campus, recruited the help of three PCC students to travel to Newberg and install pre-fabricated walls for 20 new welding stations at Newberg High School’s welding lab. This work followed new ventilation hoods built at the Rock Creek Campus, that were recently installed at the high school; the hoods help to alleviate exhaust fumes in the lab.

“This has been a fun project,” said Judy. “Our PCC students got hands-on experience building the needed components and then putting them in, on-site. If we can help to train more future welders, then it’s a win-win – both for educators, like Newberg High School and PCC, and local manufacturers.”

Welding is a skill used by many trades including sheet metal workers, ironworkers, diesel mechanics, boilermakers, carpenters and steamfitters. PCC and Newberg High School have created a new program focused on putting students on the path for a career in welding. To kick it off, nearly 30 students will enroll in the three-semester program and earn dual credit from Newberg High School and PCC. Students will learn about oxy-acetylene welding – a process that uses fuel gases and oxygen to weld metals – and shielded metal arc welding, one of the world’s most popular welding processes and used extensively in the construction of steel structures and in industrial fabrication. Additionally, the high school will continue to offer its general welding classes.

Students completing the dual-credit program can continue the welding program at PCC. PCC offers an associate of applied science degree in welding technology and both a two-year and one-year certificate in welding technology.

The college soon will have a permanent presence in Newberg. Beginning in fall 2010, PCC will offer both credit and non-credit courses at the Chehalem Cultural Center, an interim site while the college’s permanent educational facility is built. The permanent center is slated to open in fall 2011.