Thanks to the generosity of several area entities, the Welding Technology Lab on the Glen Oaks Community College campus is being totally renovated.
Work is nearing completion on the $350,000 project, with $87,500 coming through donations to fund the cost of 20 new welding booths, complete with vacuum systems.
“Our Platinum sponsor donors stepped up to the tune of $20,000 and above,” said Dr. David H. Devier, Glen Oaks president. “They are TH Plastics, Inc., Morgan Olson, and Mike Elliott, a retired St. Joseph County engineer. Sturgis Bank was our $10,000 Gold sponsor; and our Silver sponsors were Century Bank and Trust and the Paul H. Casault Senior Center Memorial Fund at Sturgis Area Community Foundation.”
“There is a dire need for skilled welders today,” said Devier. “This was a great opportunity for the community to step up to support a program that houses both high school students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs as well as our traditional college students pursuing welding certificates and associate degrees.”
Originally, the Welding Lab work was included as part of the state Capital Outlay project to renovate the whole north side of campus. However, the project was postponed due to the pandemic and in doing so the cost of materials had increased forcing the college to pull this portion of the project from the state’s scope of work.
“We appreciate the financial support of our community partners,” said Devier. “There was still a need for a viable training facility for students to learn the trade in the county. So, we made the call to move forward with it on our dime as soon as classes were out for the summer. Through the support of the community coming together to help fund the cost, we were able to complete it in less than six months to have it ready for students in mid-fall semester.”