AP NEWS

As Havasu thrives, so does MCC’s welding program

January 4, 2019

At the moment, Lake Havasu City is booming. Everywhere you turn, there is a new building going up. The town is brimming with winter visitors, making cash registers chirp in restaurants and retail businesses. And good luck with trying to make a doctor’s appointment.

Another corner of the city that has seen significant growth is tucked away on the Havasu campus of Mohave Community College. Over the winter break, four new work stations were added to the welding skills center at a cost of $90,000, bringing the number up to 10 stations.

The school’s Associate Dean of Instruction Jason Gee said the popular welding program has grown at other MCC campuses as well.

“We’re training students so they can earn their certifications from the American Welding Society. They’ll need (the credentials) to get jobs,” Gee said. The AWS testing center is in Kingman, where welders can earn certification, whether or not they are enrolled MCC students.

At the welding skills center in Havasu, students attend 15-week semesters.

They learn to make safe work practices a habit as they perfect their techniques for making metal welds. Welding joins metals permanently, making them act as a single piece. The process usually requires the application of heat.

Both plate and pipe arc welding are taught by lead instructor Eric Pope. He is assisted by one part-time instructor. MCC expects to add two more part-time teachers soon.

Gee said there are about 100 welding students currently enrolled at MCC’s campuses; 25 of those are in Havasu.

Classes are noon to 9 p.m. An extra Friday class is being added. MCC offers several welding certificates, from entry level to those that require higher skill levels.

“We only expect our welding program to grow,” he said. “It’s a profession that pays well — $30 to $50 an hour. There’s a national shortage of welders. It’s one of those fields where there are plenty of jobs for qualified welders. But you have to be good at it — you can’t have welds breaking — which is why there’s a certification process.”

In addition to construction, welders are needed in all industries, including aircraft assembly, ship building, automotive, bridges and other manufacturing. The average annual salary for welders in America is $40,240, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Experienced welders can earn six figures with the right company.

“We’re just really excited about the expansion in Havasu,” Gee said. “We built the labs from the ground up. The equipment is brand new and it’s the best we could get. We want our students to have the best experience possible.”

Four welding slots remain on the Havasu campus for the spring semester. For details, contact Eric Pope at EPope2@Mohave.edu or apply at www.Mohave.edu.