Blinn expanding welding program after tremendous growth in two years

Published: Sep. 6, 2018 at 4:46 PM CDT
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Blinn College's welding program is expanding its services to accommodate their growth. This year, Blinn enrolled over 100 students in their welding program, which is a far cry from the first class enrollment of just 23 students in January 2016.

Just two years ago, Blinn Welding only had enough spots for eight booths. Now, they are expanding to a bigger campus and teaching 130 students the skilled trade.

"Welders have been decreasing throughout the country, so the demand has been going up, and there's good money to be made in it. There's a lot of work available," said Blinn College student, Adam Dormeier.

Dormeir is just one semester away from finishing his two-year degree at Blinn. He knows the need for experienced craftsman in our growing community.

"It's a great opportunity for them to get their foot in the door, get some experience, and start down that path of gaining that real world experience that we're looking to hire," said Makala Gerland, the president of JackRabbit Manufacturing and PowderCoating.

Gerlund and her husband own a local manufacturing company. They only have seven welders, and all of them are working long hours and taking on an extra workload.

"I think a lot of our employees would say they're taking on jobs of multiple men that we're just trying to make do where we can," Gerland said.

The curriculum at Blinn is internationally recognized, and it's opening up more opportunities for students that haven’t even finished their degree yet.

"We've got new businesses coming to our area, and they'll call us and say, ‘Do you have welding students that i could get?’ And we explain to them they are students so they work around their schedule. But we get calls constantly looking for welders," said Blinn Welding Program Manager, Dickie Jones.

Jones said the program was so full this semester; they had to turn people away. Many students are already on the waiting list for the spring.