Piedmont Community College (PCC) has a thriving welding program where students learn consumable and non-consumable electrode welding and cutting processes. To provide the most up-to-date experiences, and to offer a cost-effective program, Duke Energy awarded PCC a $20,000 grant for additional welding simulators.

In 2019, funds from Duke Energy purchased two welding simulators, one for the Person County Campus and one for a local corrections program. This year’s award will fund simulators for the College’s Caswell County Campus.

With over 130 students enrolled in the hands-on welding program, including seven female students, PCC will continue to provide a talented pipeline for the welding industry, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of minority and female students who enroll and complete the program.

“At Duke Energy, we recognize the importance of expanding access to workforce training opportunities in the communities we serve, especially those that are underserved,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We look forward to working with these organizations to build the diverse workforce North Carolina needs to be a strong, successful economic engine.”

PCC’s goal is to increase the number of students with welding certifications. The simulator equipment is effective for use with beginner and intermediate welding students and allows students to practice multiple welds without burning through consumable supplies.

The equipment is highly suggested by welding instructors due to its cost effectiveness; students can practice welds multiple times and make mistakes until they can correctly bead the weld because they are not consuming costly supplies.

In addition to adding this new simulation technology, PCC will support one faculty member to become certified through the American Welding Society (AWS). This instructor can then test and certify enrolled PCC students, allowing them the opportunity to graduate with an industry recognized AWS credential.

“Piedmont Community College’s welding program has a proven track record for success,” said Duke Energy District Manager Tanya Evans. “We’re pleased to continue our partnership with the college to equip students with the skills needed to compete in emerging sectors of today’s economy.”

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