In-demand skills will have new workforce pipeline lined up as PCC creates more entry points and career pathways for skilled laborers in maritime welding.

COURTESY: PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE - A welding student works at Portland Community College's maritime welding program.Portland Community College's welding faculty has created two new career pathway certificates for in-demand skills, the educational institute announced Aug. 2.

The new welding certificates are offered in PCC's Maritime Welding Training Center, which is a partnership with Vigor Industrial shipbuilder, are maritime welding and maritime shipfitting.

The PCC maritime welding center is located nearby the Swan Island shipyards, and the recent collaboration has resulted in a steady stream of skilled workers who are qualified with in-demand and niche skills, such as butt and socket welds, straight run offsets and fabricating spools, according to the school.

Matt Scott is a welding instructor with PCC.

"We made sure we captured all of the attributes of what the students will need to be successful out on the job," Scott said. "Both certificates complete the welder certification training. The students can then basically walk from the shop here across the street and become gainfully employed after they pass their weld test."

The two new certificates require three classes, which add up to 12 credits total, allowing students to get trained quickly and move straight into the workforce.

The Vigor and PCC 4,000-square-foot maritime welding training facility is intended to help meet demand for skilled laborers in shipbuilding, ship conversion, ship welding and complex industrial fabrication.

"There is a huge demand for trained workers. There is an overabundant need," said Todd Barnett, PCC faculty member.

Many industries are facing a shortage of skilled labor, and welding is no exception.

Although the PCC welding shop is operating at one-third capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, the college expects these rules to soon relax — meaning the program is expected to ramp up and accept more students to near capacity. COURTESY: PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Two of PCC's maritime welding students, Keyonna Williams and Alex Cuevas.

Alex Cuevas is a student in the welding career pathway program.

"Honestly, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my career path before this but as soon as I started welding, I knew right away I wanted to do it. I've always been curious about the trades but I had no clue about how to get into them," Cuevas said. "It seemed like a really good opportunity and is a great field to get into, especially right now. I think Portland needs a lot of revitalization so I decided to jump in. I think it's extremely important for women because I think a lot of us don't know how to jump into the field. Having this program makes it super accessible and it's user-friendly. You have people working with you at every step of the way to help you in the process."

According to Scott, PCC has plans to add an additional two pathway certificates in pipe welding and pipefitting, intended to help students get trained fast and find living-wage jobs.

Prospective students and hiring entities can learn more here.

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