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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Economic Development in Action, Fall 2011

Sparks fly as new welders are trained with DOL grant money

As part of a nearly $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Macomb Community College is partnering with Pro-Weld, Inc. of Chesterfield Township to train and certify new welders.

The four-week program, free for qualified students, is designed to build a skilled and ready workforce for area manufacturers working to fulfill contracts (and sub-contracts) for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The program provides entry level training for students as well as employment assistance including resume development, interviewing skills and on-the-job soft skills.  Upon completion of the 160-hour program, students have an opportunity to earn American Welding Society (AWS) certification thereby enhancing their employability.

Macomb College has a respected welding program in place with a state-of-the-art training facility.  However, as demand for qualified welders in the region has outpaced the college’s ability to move students through its program, it sought to partner with the private sector to expand its capacity.

Enter Justin Robinson, senior economic developer with the department.  He reached out to client Pro-Weld, a company with more than 18 years of experience in manufacturing and design innovation.  Robinson worked with company officials to help prepare a competitive offer in response to the college’s request for proposals.  After the college confirmed that the training space met their qualifications and an outstanding team of instructors were in place, the deal was sealed.

“This relationship is a great example of public-private partnership,” says Holger Ekanger, WCE Director of Engineering & Advanced Technology for the college.  “We had a need to expand our capacity for students and Pro-Weld had a need to fill open positions in their shop with trained welders.”

Both the company and college agree that the training offered is top-notch.  Manufacturers with a need for welders with precise skills are encouraged to get in touch the college for assistance with job placement needs.  A graduation was held in early October for the program’s first ten students.  Seven of the students had new jobs to begin the following week as a result of participation.

Scott Light, President of Pro-Weld is delighted with the program.  “It’s hard to imagine that with unemployment just beginning to taper off we had trouble filling critical positions.  This program gives us a chance to know our students as potential employees for open positions.”

Pro-Weld has classes scheduled every four weeks through August of 2012.  Qualified candidates are those with an interest in welding who are unemployed or underemployed.  The college screens each applicant for admittance into the program. Those who would like to apply should call 586-498-4120 to get the process started.

Pro-Weld, Inc.

50625 Richard W. Blvd.
Chesterfield Twp, MI 48051

Phone: 586-949-0818


American Welding Society

Macomb Community College