WVC Foundation receives Alcoa grants

WVC Foundation awarded Alcoa grants for welding and machining programs

Media Contacts: Stacey Lockhart, Foundation executive director, 509.682.6410, or Libby Siebens, community relations executive director, 509.682.6436 (Mon. – Thurs.), or Anita Janis, dean of workforce education, 509.682.6614

January 26, 2015

The Wenatchee Valley College Foundation has been awarded two grants from the Alcoa Foundation totaling $125,000 for the purchase of equipment that will allow WVC to offer a new one-year certificate of completion in welding and fabrication and to expand the machining program.

The first grant of $75,000, received in November, funds equipment and training for the welding faculty so that they can use the equipment as a teaching tool. The foundation purchased eight wire feed welders, three portable welders, four TIG welders and various clamps, lugs and cables associated with operating the machines.

The second grant of $50,000, received in January, will fund two temporary adjunct faculty to teach additional machining courses during spring and summer quarters. As a result of recent closures within the manufacturing industry, many students are seeking to retrain and gain new skills for future employment, and they have indicated interest in WVC’s machining program; however, the program could only accommodate nine students at a time. The grant will allow the college to add evening and weekend courses to meet the needs of additional students.

The revision of WVC's welding program into a one-year certificate also allows the college to move toward an offering of a baccalaureate in applied science in engineering technology (BAS-ET). The degree will include courses in welding, fabrication and electronics, an engineering physics series, an engineering math series and 60 general education credits. WVC received permission from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to begin program development for a BAS-ET, which is currently being worked on by WVC faculty and staff. The development plan will be submitted to the SBCTC in late February.

After consulting with regional industry partners and neighboring higher education partners, and surveying employers, the college has determined that adding a BAS-ET is essential to serving the educational and workforce needs of the region. The new degree program will be available to students who have completed an associate of science-transfer (AS-T) degree.

Welding is considered a high demand occupation by the Washington State Employment Security Department, which has projected short- and long-term growth for welding in Chelan and Douglas counties, with an estimate of approximately 38 openings annually between 2011 and 2021. A skilled labor supply in welding will contribute to the economic diversity and strength of manufacturers in Douglas and Chelan counties.

WVC and Alcoa have maintained a relationship for over 20 years, and Alcoa Wenatchee Works was recognized by the WVC Foundation as the 2014 Outstanding Friend of the College last spring.

Since 2011, the Alcoa Foundation has provided program support to the college by awarding five separate grants to the WVC Foundation, totaling $240,000, to enhance and expand the college’s industrial technology program, including the purchase of the of the first 3-D printer in Washington state for the digital design program in 2011, upgrades for the welding program and the creation of the machining program in 2014.