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New agreement benefits LBWCC welding grads

Attending the recent event sealing an articulation agreement with LBW Community College and United Association were, front row from left, LBWCC Vice President Dr. Jim Krudop; Dean of Instruction Peggy Linton; Lance Albin, UA international representative; Samuel Bankester, South Central Pipe Trades field representative; second row, Randall Kelly, retired field representative and current instructor for Local 372 Training Center; John Paul Smith, business manager with the Plumbers and Steam Fitters Local Union 52; LBWCC welding faculty Scott Cooper and David Brawner; and Chelsea Wyatt, welding laboratory facilitator.

Attending the recent event sealing an articulation agreement with LBW Community College and United Association were, front row from left, LBWCC Vice President Dr. Jim Krudop; Dean of Instruction Peggy Linton; Lance Albin, UA international representative; Samuel Bankester, South Central Pipe Trades field representative; second row, Randall Kelly, retired field representative and current instructor for Local 372 Training Center; John Paul Smith, business manager with the Plumbers and Steam Fitters Local Union 52; LBWCC welding faculty Scott Cooper and David Brawner; and Chelsea Wyatt, welding laboratory facilitator.

LBW Community College welding program graduates now have an improved pathway to journeymen certification through the United Association apprenticeship program.

A recent event sealed an articulation agreement, one of only seven in Alabama, giving them preference into the program of the United Association (UA) of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada, and saving off up to two years from the five-year program for LBW welding graduates.

“This is a huge day for LBW,” said Dr. Jim Krudop, LBWCC vice president, at a recent event to seal the agreement. “We are excited about this participation and what it means for our graduates.”

The articulation agreement gives LBWCC welding graduates preference into the UA apprenticeship program, which ultimately leads to a journeymen certificate, and will credit one to two years off the apprenticeship length depending on the number and types of certificates and work experience, said Lance Albin, international representative.

“The typical apprentice has no experience and it takes five years in the program, 246 hours a year of technical instruction in the lab and field work to complete the program,” he said.

“Types of work include construction, maintenance, and service work on commercial, industrial, manufacturing, and municipal projects. We offer a career in the industry, not just a job.”

Samuel D. Bankester, field representative with South Central Pipe Trades, said the agreement is the result of two years of planning, comparing curriculum, and reviewing equipment and training to make sure they meet the UA standards.

“We started two years ago with the idea to offer an opportunity for postsecondary students to have an avenue to apply their skills,” he said. “This agreement allows a direct path for LBW welding graduates to get into the (UA) apprenticeship program and us to get work-ready employees. It is an accomplishment for UA, LBWCC, but even more for students, since it gives them a ‘leg up.’”

The LBWCC welding program usually has up to 60 students each semester and provides an opportunity to gain credentials along the way.  As courses are completed, students earn a basic SMAW and cutting short certificate, followed by a short certificate in consumable arc welding processes, gaining field recognition and earning potential.

For more information on LBWCC’s welding program, visit www.lbwcc.edu or call 334-493-5354.