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Midlands Technical College, Area School Districts Sign Agreement to Train Welders More Quickly

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left to right – MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames (center)
signs the articulation agreement with
representatives from local school districts.

Midlands Technical College (MTC) has partnered with high-school-level welding programs in Lexington, Richland, and Fairfield counties to make it easier, quicker, and less expensive for students to become certified welders. The partnership will also help fill the local workforce demand with welding professionals with some of the highest levels of training and certification.

“This partnership creates a winning situation for everyone involved,” said MTC President Dr. Ronald. L. Rhames. “Students will save time and money while pursuing a great career. Local employers will benefit from having a larger pool of trained welders entering the workforce each year. The partnership provides clear pathways for students to continue their education after high school.”

The plan gives students credit at MTC for accomplishments they have achieved in high school and prepares students for employment and advancement in the welding industry.

“This is definitely a win-win situation for all involved,” said Kevin Gratton, a welding instructor at Lexington Technology Center (LTC). “This includes the school districts, the students, the parents, and MTC. At LTC we explain to our students on a daily basis how much industry needs welders and all the other welding-related occupations. I have a number of students who are gainfully employed with some the best companies in Columbia and the surrounding area. One of my former students is employed at MTC as a welding instructor.”

The plan to award qualified high school students college credit for their demonstrated skills began between MTC and Lexington School District One, when MTC Welding Program Coordinator Ray Thomas noticed that many of the high school students coming to MTC had already gained many basic welding skills in high school.

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MTC Welding students Corey Wellons (left) and Gary Herzberg
use specialized plasma cutting equipment to prepare a pipe for joint fit-up and welding.

“We had great feedback and great results,” said Thomas. “The parents really liked it because it showed them a clear path for their students to be able to continue their education. Eventually, we introduced the program to all the high-school-level welding programs in our area.”

Students in MTC’s welding programs receive training in the latest welding technology, as well as the traditional welding skills and a good foundation in basic welding theory, metallurgy, and blueprint reading. Employment opportunities are found in maintenance, construction, manufacturing, and other related fields. MTC will soon begin a $4 million expansion of its welding facility and will expand its welding curriculum to take advantage of the new space and resources. 

For more information about MTC’s welding programs, visit https://www.midlandstech.edu/career-guide/demand-careers/welding-technologies.