Dual-Credit Welding Class Offered

By Fairfield Career and Technical Training Center

FAIRFIELD INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION President David Zuber (right) along with Fairfield Community Development Director Linda Thornton, and Navarro College Dean of Mexia Campus Linda Davis and husband Warren Davis are surrounded by welding station located in the new Fairfield Career and Technical Training Center, which becomes operational as school begins on August 26th.

At least a half dozen Teague High School students will be in the first welding class that begins Monday, August 26th, at the new Fairfield Career and Technical Training Center.

The new center will provide technical and skills training in welding for up to 24 students per class to provide them with high paying jobs in the area.

The Fairfield Industrial Development Corporation (FIDC) has concluded a real estate transaction to acquire the Windstream Facilities located at 960 East Commerce Street in Fairfield. The site consists of approximately 16 acres of land and 30,000 square feet of building space. This purchase is a significant step toward achieving a long standing goal of current and past members of the FIDC Board of Directors, City Officials and Fairfield Independent School District (FISD) Officials, which is to provide technical and skills training to area adults and high school students that will assist them in qualifying for high paying jobs. The transaction also deeds to Windstream approximately 4.7 acres of property in the Fairfield Industrial Park, where they will construct a new facility to base their operations from.

The FIDC has been working with Navarro College for over a year on this program. Navarro College has a well established program that results in a Certificate or an AAS Degree, both of which are nationally recognized. FIDC is remodeling a 5800 square foot warehouse building at the new Career Center site to house 13 welding stations and a classroom. The facility will be able to handle 24 students in each class. The facility is on track for completion in time to commence classes for the Fall Semester which begins August 26th. Registration is currently open to adults for two welding classes which will be taught at night by a Navarro College instructor. An exciting new aspect of the Navarro College Welding program is that the classes are established as high school dual credit courses. This will allow interested high school students to obtain 29 College Credit Hours during their Junior and Senior years of high school. After high school graduation, participating students would require only 13 additional college credit hours to obtain the Welding Certificate or an additional 43 credit ours to obtain the AAS Degree in Welding Technology.

Why is this Center of great importance to Economic Development ? The simple fact is that companies of all types that are seeking locations for their facilities place great emphasis on the availability of a workforce that possesses the skills critical to their success. Our community will be able not only to talk about workforce skills, but to hold up our Center as demonstrated proof that our community actively supports a well trained workforce. We will have standard programs as well as the ability to tailor training programs to the needs of local businesses. This is a very strong tool when selling our area to potential relocating companies. One additional factor frequently discussed in our community is the migration of our young adults away from the area to search for well paying jobs. Making skills training available to our youth will arm them with skills to qualify for high paying jobs right here at home or anywhere in the United States. They will have more options.

Establishing a successful Career and Technical Training Center will require varied partnerships over time with many entities. The most obvious entities are the institutions that offer degree and certificate programs for technical and skills training, high schools, local businesses, and regional organizations that support economic development and employment services such as the Council of Governments, Economic Development District and Workforce Solutions for the Heart of Texas. The first skill area that has been targeted for our Center is Welding, since this particular trade offers excellent wages and is in high demand throughout our region as well as nationally.

One important strength of Navarro College?s Welding Program is the Welding Program Advisory Committee that is comprised of local and regional businesses that rely on skilled welders. The Advisory Committee actively evaluates the curriculum to ensure that the skills being taught match the skills required by the businesses, and the businesses further serve an essential function by providing internships where participating students an exercise their welding skills in an actual work environment. Placing heavy emphasis on businesses means that this program is ?needs based.? This assures that there is truly a need for employees with welding skills and brings all of the key players together, forging a strong alliance under the umbrella of Economic Development.

FIDC will have more information available in the coming weeks highlighting ways that individuals and local business can support the Career Center. We look forward to working with you to make these dreams that have become goals now become reality in the very near future.

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