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Virtual Welding Help OCCC Students

Oregon Coast Community College is using two virtual welding machines to teach career

education, and to bring that teaching to all corners of Lincoln County, thanks to a grant from

the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund. The colleges 2020 welding program launch was interrupted by the Pandemic, so virtual welding made learning more accessible. Although in-person classes are meeting again, the machines are proving immensely valuable to the program. “Welding students from around the county are now able to practice their skills without consuming costly supplies and materials,” said Dan Lara, OCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Though different from the actual physical process of welding, a virtual welder teaches students hand positioning, distance from the material, and travel speed. Students can also learn how amperage and different gas mixtures affect the quality of the weld. “Working with AR Welding for the first time, I was impressed with the immediate feedback it provided after welding was completed,” remarked Robert Boyd, OCCC’s lead welding instructor.

“There is an urgent need for skilled welders and AR welding will help with reducing training time and costs associated with the lab environment.”

The machines have been deployed not only to aid students, but to also exhibit trades education to the greater community. High school students were able to try their hand at virtual welding during the college’s recent Career and Technical Education (CTE) Day, as were community members who attended the OCCC Foundation’s annual fundraising event, Pearls of Wisdom, in March. The college also plans to send one machine to Taft High School to support the Natural Resources Program.

“This outreach and accessibility, which has the potential to introduce countless local studentsto lucrative careers, wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund,” said Lara. “We truly appreciate their involvement in this

program.” Learn more about OCCC’s welding program and discover the full range of degree and certificate programs available at Oregon Coast Community College, at oregoncoast.edu. Find OCCC on LinkedIn, or follow the College on Facebook and Instagram, @occcsharks. Or, call the College at 541-867-8501.

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