The Welding program at Piedmont Community College (PCC) recently received a grant of $45,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation. This grant will fund two welding simulators that use virtual reality for training.

PCC has a well-established Welding program on the Person and Caswell County campuses, as well as the Caswell Correctional Center (CCC), that establishes a pipeline to the welding industry. This new equipment will not only properly train and develop stronger candidates, but will also reduce waste and supply needs as the simulators do not require tangible, one-time use materials.

In fact, the simulators are highly recommended by Welding instructors due to cost effectiveness, ease of use, and capacity to prepare students for today’s workforce.

“We can connect these machines so the entire classroom can see images – both positive moves and mistakes – in real time,” comments Darrell Hopper, PCC Corrections Education Welding Instructor. “Some lessons will be easier to practice together and teach the entire class rather than in individual welding booths…These machines will save our programs a lot of money on consumables.”

The Duke Energy Foundation grant makes learning on state-of-the-art equipment possible for PCC students.

“The generosity of Duke Energy is critical to bringing our classrooms up-to-date with equipment that corresponds to modern welding training standards,” continues Hopper. “More students come from an environment with gaming and virtual reality at their fingertips. The simulators will help the College market to that population.”

PCC’s goal is to increase the number of students with Welding certifications, strengthening the local workforce using technology. This real world instruction provides opportunities for employment for all students within PCC’s Welding program, including those housed at CCC. In fact, a recent job search revealed over 90 welding related jobs available within 25 miles of Person and Caswell counties.

“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 today’s economy.”

About PCC’s Welding Program
PCC’s Welding Technology program provides students with a sound understanding of the science, technology, and applications essential for successful employment in the welding and metal industry.

Instruction includes consumable and non-consumable electrode welding and cutting processes. Courses in math, blueprint reading, metallurgy, welding inspection, and destructive and non-destructive testing provides the student with industry-standard skills developed through classroom training and practical application.

To learn more, visit or contact Walter Montgomery, Dean of Technical and Occupational programs, at (336) 322-2258 or

Photo: Left to Right
Front Row: Tanya Evans, District Manager, Duke Energy-Progress; Dr. Pamela G. Senegal, President, Piedmont Community College
Back Row: Dr. Doris Carver, Vice President, Continuing Education, PCC; Darrell Hopper, Welding Instructor, Caswell Correctional Center, PCC; Ben Foti, Dean, Occupational Extension and Correction Education, PCC

08-19 Duke-WeldingGrant-web.jpg  

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