All with the goal of helping students enter the workforce as quickly and as well prepared as possible, Washington State Community College recently announced four new or updated certificate programs.
The new one-year welding certificate and the updated Peace Officer Basic Academy, Multi-Craft for Industry and Petroleum Industry certificates will be available starting in the fall.
Officials said the moves were all dedicated to creating more flexibility for students while boosting enrollment.
Times file photo
Washington State Community College engineering student Scott Smith works on his team’s Rube Goldberg machine at a previous local competition as one of many projects that students participate in under the college’s engineering and industrial technology certificate programs.
Previously, WSCC offered only a certificate of completion for its six-class multi-craft for industry program, which includes electricity, basic welding and machining classes and courses designed to teach basic workplace skills.
"I wouldn't call it a generic program, but it's a little bit of a lot of things you can use to take to a variety of careers," said Brenda Kornmiller, dean of business, engineering, industrial technologies and workforce development.
Washington State new and updated certificate programs for 2014-2015
- Peace Officer Basic Academy: Certification now available with financial aid.
- Multi-Craft Certificate: Now available in both Washington and Morgan counties with financial aid.
- Welding: Brand new, one-year certificate available with financial aid.
- Petroleum Industry: Now available as a one-year certificate with financial aid.
The program is now a one-year certificate eligible for financial aid and offered at both Marietta and the Morgan County branch.
"The point is, we have these advisory committees of business professionals working on the curriculum so we can assure students that they can get jobs in this area and we can assure employers that we have students they would want to hire," she said.
Kornmiller said any addition of faculty will only come in if business professionals show interest in bringing their experience to the classroom for supplemental instruction.
WSCC also added a new one-year welding certificate that includes shielded metal arc welding, MIG (gas metal arc welding), TIG (gas tungsten arc welding), plate and pipe welding.
Kent Hall, WSCC industrial technology instructor, said the program could not have come at a better time.
"The demand for qualified welders is higher than ever, largely due to the shale industry moving into the area," he said.
Current welding program coordinator Josh Horner will serve as the program's instructor.
WSCC already had its own petroleum technologies program, but only ever offered it on a certificate of completion basis.
Now, the one-year certificate will include a variety of oil, gas, industrial, and engineering technology courses, all with the help of financial aid.
"We already have petroleum engineering graduates, many from Marietta College, who teach these courses, and we'll continue to bring in industry experts to teach courses as demand calls for," Kornmiller said.
Like the other programs, students can choose to apply the certificate to an Associate of Applied Science degree in industrial technology with a concentration in petroleum technology.
Peace Officer Basic Academy
As one of the few training academies in the area, the Peace Officer Basic Academy offered a 605-hour certificate that did not qualify for financial aid, forcing many students to pursue an associate's degree in criminal justice.
"The problem with that was that the vast majority just want to get the academy training and get employed as a law enforcement officer as quickly as possible," said John Burdette, coordinator of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy at WSCC.
The new program is the same POBA program but with two English classes and a karate course to make it eligible for financial aid.
"The sheriff and local chiefs tell me that cadets need additional training in grammar, and coincidentally, that information made it easy to select the new classes," Burdette said.
The program currently employs 30 certified instructors to train cadets, but Burdette said he hopes this new offering will help grow the program.