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Sierra College and Del Oro Double Certification of High School Welders – 2013

Sierra College faculty certified 13 Del Oro High School agricultural welding students in American Welding Society structural welding in 2012-13, nearly doubling the number of students certified compared to last year and improving students’ competitiveness in qualifying for high wage jobs and succeeding in future technical education.

Bill Wenzel, Sierra College Welding Department Chair and American Welding Society (AWS) inspector, partnered with Del Oro High School in Loomis, CA to test students for advantageous industry certification. Wenzel reported that 13 students passed the E7018 3G Vertical Up Butt Joint ARC welding certification and seven passed last year. Certification and other collaborative efforts are creating a pipeline of welding students prepared for technical careers.

As part of the certification process, Del Oro High School Agricultural Welding instructor Mike Pahl supervised the students as they welded together two plates side-by-side. Then Wenzel reviewed the sample sections before they were put in a hydraulic bender and bent into “U” shapes. The weld at the outside of the bend, where there is the greatest stress, cannot have more than 1/8 of an inch of opening in order to pass AWS welding code.

Additionally, three students passed the 71T Dual Shield 3G Vertical Up Butt Joint certification and one student passed the 71T Overhead Dual Shield 41G Overhead Butt Joint certification. The Del Oro welding program is so popular that additional sections have been added to serve 240 students per year. Pahl explained that the high school welding program has expanded and upgraded tools as a result of support from the Sierra College Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative.

To bring more state-of-the-art welding training to high school campuses, Sierra College has built the only community college Mobile Training Center for welding in Northern California and one of a handful in the United States. The Mobile Welding Lab was funded through CACT and Career Technical Education Perkins funding.

The mobile lab can travel to high school campuses and expose students to the latest equipment and training techniques. “By combining computers with welding technology in the mobile lab, students’ speed of travel, amperage and voltage will be tracked and graphed as they weld,” said Wenzel. “Working in the mobile lab, high school students can receive detailed feedback to improve their technique and prepare for certification.”

The Sierra STEM Collaborative is funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to create a pipeline of students interested in technical careers. Students can pursue Welding, Mechatronics, Engineering, Energy Technology and Drafting & Engineering Support at Sierra College. For information, go to http://www.sierraschoolworks.com or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Sierra College at (916) 660-7801.

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