U of A Hope-Texarkana Adds New Pathway to High-Demand Welding Occupations

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The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana is continuing to help change the face of higher education. UAHT recently added a mobile welding classroom to the methods of instruction offered by the college. The mobile welding classroom was fabricated from a twenty-six foot enclosed aluminum trailer by UAHT welding instructors Charlie Scoggins and Eddie Thomas. The trailer is equipped with eight Miller Trailblazer 325 welders, individual workstations, and all required safety equipment. The mobile classroom will be used to offer three types of welding instruction, MIG, TIG, and SMAW/Stick welding, on location at high schools, industry, and for the general public. UAHT offers several welding certificate programs, some of which prepare students for jobs in as little as six weeks.

The mobile welding classroom is part of the Workforce Initiative Act of 2015 Regional Workforce Grant Program. Five community colleges within the University of Arkansas System formed a workforce alliance to address workforce needs in the regions served by these colleges. This Alliance is composed of Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, and the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. The Alliance received the Regional Workforce Grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education of $905,890 with UAHT receiving $163,152 of the grant.

Laura Clark, UAHT Vice Chancellor for Academics, said, “The grant program presents a unique opportunity for these colleges, forming the University of Arkansas Workforce Alliance (UAWA), to develop a welding pathway to a high demand and high wage workforce occupation. The intent of the Alliance is to share resources, instructors, best practices, and redefine the delivery of certificates and degrees offered by the institutions to improve responsiveness to industry needs and assist workers and students with work readiness and employment services. Mobile training units will allow the UAHT to be responsive to partner requests by combining the resources, when necessary, to deliver large-scale training opportunities.”

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According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Employment growth reflects the need for welders in manufacturing because of the importance and versatility of welding as a manufacturing process. The basic skills of welding are similar across industries, so welders can easily shift from one industry to another, depending on where they are needed most. For example, welders laid off in the automotive manufacturing industry may be able to find work in the oil and gas industry. The nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers to help rebuild bridges, highways, and buildings. The construction of new power generation facilities and, specifically, pipelines transporting natural gas and oil will also result in new jobs.”

“The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana serves the southwest Arkansas population. We believe partnerships are key in providing opportunities for the residents of the communities we serve, especially in an environment of limited resources. We partner with area school districts on a number of initiatives, including concurrent credit programs and our ACT Preparatory Academy. The Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative is located on our campus. We believe in and are committed to strong partnerships. The Workforce Alliance is another partnership that complements our mission well,” said Chris Thomason, UAHT Chancellor.

UAHT offers several certificates in Welding including:
Certificate of Proficiency in Basic Welding
Certificate of Proficiency in Construction Welding
Technical Certificate in Welding Technology

For more information about Welding programs at UAHT, call 870-777-5722.

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