What is One of San Diego’s Best Kept Secrets?

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pic1People throughout the country are looking for jobs and new avenues of career exploration. Many professions, such as commercial arts, are becoming highly competitive, with a shortage of jobs and a multitude of applicants. But there is hope. With the down-turning economy, projections of AWS surveys, and rapid retirement of US welders, it’s clear that there is a definite need for new welders for both the present and future. San Diego’s Continuing Education, a vocational school in the San Diego Community College District is offering an exciting new welding program as well as a newly updated welding facility.

The local San Diego chapter of the American Welding Society met on May 19th, in downtown San Diego, to support local welding students and share information about the school’s new program. The meeting featured networking opportunities, a dinner, a tour of the facility and a presentation by Dr. Brian Ellison, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services of San Diego’s Continuing Education. Dr. Ellison shared the school’s vision for the future of welding vocational education and details about their newly updated welding facility.

pic2 The meeting began with an opportunity to network with other attendees and was followed by a delicious meal of carne and chicken asada barbecue. After the meal , Dr. Brian Ellison delivered an interesting and insightful presentation of the facts and history of the organization. Mark Bell also spoke briefly about the importance of building the image of the welding and metal fabrication industry. Following the presentation, a tour of the facility was conducted. Jim really enjoyed touring the facility and meeting some of the students and facilitators. Everyone seemed to be engaged and excited about the program.

The school’s welding facility is the largest in the area with over 90 welding booths. They have a new manifold gas distribution system outside in a large cutting yard, and another facility is under construction which will double it’s current size. The new facility is scheduled for completion by September 2009. The school has placed 16 students in the last 6 months and has certified 30 students under AWS guidelines since September 2008.

pic3The welding program is based on an Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (IBEST) model. This model integrates general education and vocational training in a hands-on learning environment. This technique is innovative and a similar process has been used to train LVNs. The challenge with this method is to have multiple teachers working in tandem on separate schedules. The program is also in need of donated equipment & supplies.

The school is also working on building relationships with outside businesses such as Nassco. To date, they have trained over 400 employees from Nassco, tailoring the training to meet the company’s needs. They are working on building relationship with BAE—this would be a contract education program. It entails tailoring programs to what the company needs and is suited to the company’s timeline. Contract education is advantageous since it meets strict time lines.

On left is Mike Bradberry, the Evening Instructor and on right is Jim Watson

The meeting was a welcome reminder of the welding classes Jim took years ago at Pasadena City College and Van Nuys Technical College. Those were good times and the skills he learned helped him become a Senior Manager for some of the top welding equipment manufacturers and now the Founder and President of a successful corporation, Arc Zone.


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