NSF grant helps MCCC train welding teachers

MCCC’s welding program is growing thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The college received the grant of nearly $225,000 in October 2018.

The NSF is a competitive grant awarded on a national basis under the NSF/Advance Technology Education program.

This is the first time the NSF has awarded MCCC this grant.

“It supports our welding program enormously as it does our interaction with area high schools,” Peter Coomar, dean of the Applied Science and Engineering Technology Division and principal investigator of the grant, said in an email. “We have since had two training workshops to train the trainer – our high school partner teachers – in summer of 2018 and 2019.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the need for welders is expected to grow by 26 percent by 2020, making welding one of the fastest growing professions in America.

With articulation agreements between the college and local high schools completed, the college is well on its way to establish links via secondary through post-secondary schools and area employers Coomar said.

As a grant recipient, MCCC was required to attend the annual ATE conference in Washington, D.C., to share the progress on their grant-funded projects.

MCCC had an information booth that described the summer training workshops in an attempt to recruit teachers.

“One of our initiatives with this grant is to help educate high school welding teachers how to implement the American Welding Society credentials into their programs,” said Stephen Hasselbach, welding instructor and co-writer for the grant.

The AWS credentials are now being used as a state standard for welding programs, and there’s not a lot of information out there on how to use these certifications.

The purpose of the training workshop is for administrators and teachers to “learn about the documentation process, the application, and then breakdown the certification process with the projects and the coursework,” he said.

“We want to create a pipeline for articulating credit so students earning these certifications at their high schools can earn college credit to join our welding program and pursue the associate or advanced certifications,” Hasselbach said.

For more information on the grant programs and resources, visit the ATE Central website at