Welders, Industry to Benefit From PBSC Testing Facility

October 2016

Local welders can now get industry-recognized advanced certifications at Palm Beach State College, which in turn will help local businesses compete and grow.

photo1.pngLocal welders can now get industry-recognized advanced certifications at Palm Beach State College, which in turn will help local businesses compete and grow.

A longtime leader in welding education, Palm Beach State has been named an Accredited Test Facility for the American Welding Society. The facility serves individual welders, as well as companies employing welders, as the sole source for AWS advanced certifications in Palm Beach County. PBSC is the second college in Florida and only the fifth entity of any kind in the state to achieve ATF status.

The College is offering tests for AWS certifications at a reduced price of $457.41 per test through March 31, 2017, after which the price will increase $300. In addition, PBSC offers four hours of practice time prior to the test to give welders the opportunity to get familiar with the welding booths and machines. Only proficient welders are eligible and may choose from tests for various welding processes, including Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). For more information and the fall test schedule, go to www.palmbeachstate.edu/programs/Welding/ATF.aspx

“PBSC’s ATF will directly impact economic development in the county,” said Rick Reeder, associate dean for Trade and Industry programs on the Lake Worth campus. “There are many instances in industry where lives depend on the structural integrity of a weld, and so there are welding jobs that require welders to have certain kinds of certifications that attest to their ability to do a particular weld. Our business community really needs welders with advanced certifications to stay competitive.”

Everything from shipping containers and cars to the fabrication of steel for buildings requires advanced welding skills. Lucrative contracts may hang in the balance, for example, when companies bid on producing sub-assemblies for major manufacturers, and requirements dictate that all welds must be performed by certified welders.

“The College is proud to serve the welding community with the ability to certify their advanced learning because that gets them into jobs,” said Dr. Jean Wihbey, Lake Worth campus provost and vice president of workforce development. “The AWS certifications get them in front of employers faster and into higher paying positions. It really improves people’s ability to be self-sufficient and have a better quality of life.”

PBSC became an AWS Accredited Test Facility with the help of a federal grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program. Palm Beach State was awarded $1,138,183 of the $12.7 million TAACCCT grant given to a consortium of six colleges in 2013. The Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium project, led by Pellissippi State Community College, has focused on improving education in advanced manufacturing, with one goal being that each college would become an ATF.

The grant has paid for $300,000 in new equipment, faculty training, various accreditation expenses, and the initial reduction in the cost of the tests.

Serving 48,000 students annually, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County, providing bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, professional certificates, career training and lifelong learning. Established in 1933 as Florida's first public community college, Palm Beach State offers more than 130 programs of study at locations in Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens and Belle Glade, with a new campus under construction in Loxahatchee Groves.


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