(Update: Adding video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend Senior High School has been awarded a $24,510 grant from the American Welding Society to upgrade its welding program and give students the opportunity to earn an entry-level, Level 1 welder certification while still in high school.
“We are really excited, since this will allow us to provide our students hands-on experience with the tools and equipment that are being used in the workplace right now, and create a pipeline for local businesses who desperately need these trade professionals,” instructor Chuck Hill said.
The funds were provided through the AWS Foundation as part of a nationally competitive process and will allow the school to acquire a multiple-operator SMAW (shielded metal arc welding) power supply (upgradable to add FCAW (flux-colored arc welding) processes in the future), a mechanized oxy-fuel torch, another torch and related equipment for carbon-arc gouging, and FCAW equipment for existing GMAW (gas metal arc welding) machines.
The new equipment should be purchased and installed by fall 2023, officials said in Monday's announcement.
“As the need for skilled welders continues to increase, helping educational facilities at the high school and college level is more important than ever,” said Monica Pfarr, executive director of the AWS Foundation. “We are pleased to support the expansion of the Bend High School welding program, their commitment to the welding industry and their dedication to cultivating the next generation of welding technicians and professionals.”
Lisa Keown, CTE coordinator, stated, “Welding is just one of several exciting Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offered at Bend High School as a way to provide students a clear path to high-wage, high-demand jobs, while teaching them important 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork.
"Because of the region’s growth and high demand for construction and manufacturing services, the welding program provides a launching pad to a successful career for many students who are technically inclined and not immediately college-bound.”
About AWS Foundation: Founded in 1989, the AWS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Welding Society, the nonprofit organization with a global mission to advance the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes. The AWS Foundation works to ensure the growth and development of the welding industry through various initiatives, including career awareness, scholarship programs, and grants to institutions that offer welding education and training. The AWS Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Learn more at aws.org/foundation.