Thanks to Transportation and Emerging Technologies Renovation Project
The Welding Technology program at Dakota County Technical College started fall semester 2013 with a brand-new, state-of-the-art lab area. The lab area was built as part of Phase I of the $7.4 million Transportation and Emerging Technologies Capital Bonding Renovation Project, which was completed on the college’s Rosemount campus August 2013.
The new lab area includes a number of features highly beneficial to students and faculty. Instructor Tim Felch noted that the area is equipped with student-friendly welding booths that are optimally designed to help students develop the range of technical skills they need to enter the welding industry.
“Our new welding booths make the learning process much easier for our students,” Felch said. “We have two sections of twenty-four students, morning and afternoon. In each section, we divide the students into three groups of eight that operate on a twenty-day rotation with each rotation set up for a different welding process. Each welding booth contains everything a student needs—including compressed air, a 110 outlet and four lines of gas—to complete a series of job orders. Each booth also has its own separate air ventilator. It’s like walking outside—the air is so clean.”
Felch reported that the rotation method allows students to learn four different types of welding:
- Shield Metal Arc Welding
- Gas Metal Arc Welding
- Flux Cored Arc Welding
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
The new lab area is no long landlocked, offering students and faculty direct access to the outside, a change that greatly facilitates deliveries and materials transfer. The program also has a new metal and materials storage building just west of the lab.
Instructor Bruce Hartung pointed out that the new lab brings the program into the 21st century and then some. “We have the most up-to-date technology,” he said. “Our new air filtration system extracts nearly one hundred percent of welding fumes from the lab environment. Our students have every advantage they need to learn the skills of the welding trade. Our graduates are fully prepared to enter the welding industry.”
Mike Opp, dean of transportation and technical careers, reported that the new welding lab was a huge part of the college’s overall bonding project for a number of reasons, including the area’s large electrical capacity, the new enhanced air filtration system, and advanced mechanical requirements such as in-booth piping for various gasses used in modern welding operations. “We are excited to see full classes in the new facility with our students utilizing the new equipment as it was designed,” Opp said. “It is nice to be able to offer this facility to our students while knowing the job market has a big need for our graduates.”
According to ISEEK, Minnesota’s career, education and job resource, wages and employment growth for welders in the state are above the statewide median. See below for figures:
Wages for welders in the seven-county Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area
- Average wage: $20.71/hour
- Top earners: $27.54/hour
- Minnesota statewide median: $18.08/hour
Job outlook for welders in Minnesota
- Employment growth from 2010 through 2020: 18 percent
- Minnesota statewide median: 13 percent
Images of new Welding Technology lab area
For more information about Phase I of the 2013 Transportation and Emerging Technologies Capital Bonding Project on the DCTC Rosemount campus, follow the link below. DCTC has requested $6.9 million in capital bonding funds for Phase II of the project.