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Welding classes now offered in Luverne

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO LBW Community College in Luverne offers welding classes for the first time, with Neal McGough of Highland Home, left, and Johnathan Mount of Luverne, center, participating fall semester. Also pictured is Mike Presley, welding faculty in Luverne.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
LBW Community College in Luverne offers welding classes for the first time, with Neal McGough of Highland Home, left, and Johnathan Mount of Luverne, center, participating fall semester. Also pictured is Mike Presley, welding faculty in Luverne.

Hissing gas from acetylene tanks and strikers clicking life to flames on welding torches are sounds of bright futures for students taking advantage of welding classes offered for the first time in Luverne as an extension of LBW Community College’s welding program.

Johnathan Mount, 19, of Luverne and Neal McGough, 18, of Highland Home were the first two students to register for the Luverne classes, saving both travel time and expense by having the opportunity to get started locally through the use of LBWCC’s new grant-funded mobile welding lab.

Mount said he was looking for a career with better wages and a chance to travel and took advantage of the ability to get started in the welding program close to home.

“I like the small class size and the one-on-one instruction,” he said. “Before I started the program, I barely even ran a welding machine. I have already learned about speed and angles and am now running good beads.”

Prior to enrolling at LBWCC, he assisted with poultry farm equipment installation throughout the area, and said he is now aiming for a career as a pipeline welder.

McGough plans to be an entrepreneur and operate his own fabrication shop and rig to serve the Highland Home, Luverne and Brantley areas.

“I’ve been welding with my granddad and watched him all my life,” said McGough. “About the age of 16, I started helping him around the farm. He kind of encouraged me to go into welding.”

Both students said they were surprised by what LBWCC’s mobile welding lab offered in training opportunities.

“The lab was more than I thought it would be,” said McGough. “Every component is Lincoln, which is about the best in the industry. The machines are the same as what is being used in the field, so I can go straight into any type of welding job when I finish the program.”

Mount said the two virtual welding simulators in the lab offer life-like experience and students can get immediate feedback on their welds.

“We started out on the simulators and had to score high enough on the angle, speed and arc length before moving on to actual welding,” he said.

Mike Presley, LBWCC welding instructor with more than 20 years of industry experience, said the virtual welding simulators offer an opportunity to improve precision while saving material in both metal and electrodes with no waste products.

“The simulator allows students to build muscle stamina for precision welds. It also allows for immediate feedback so students can learn quicker and become better prepared for actual welding,” he said.

In addition to the virtual welding simulators, the LBWCC mobile welding lab has six traditional welding stations.  The mobile lab is located at LBWCC in Luverne, with an additional covered outdoor welding area available for students.

“We have about 20 students this first semester, with several being dual enrollment high school students,” said Presley. “Welding is a high-demand, high-wage industry and is attracting young people and adults interested in a career change.”

Spring semester registration begins Nov. 14, 2014, with classes starting Jan. 6, 2015. For more information on the welding classes available at LBWCC in Luverne, call 334-335-2187 ext. 7098.