Welding Education Long-Distance Community Outreach

Certified welders with advanced science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills are vital to the United States petroleum, food production and processing, transportation, and manufacturing industries, and this project includes industry partners from these sectors. Because of this great need, the Welding Distance Community Outreach (WELDCO) program at West Hills Community College is designed to meet the needs for a growing sector of advanced welding technicians on the West Side of the California impoverished Central Valley. The program seeks to transport and make mobile a successful, face-to-face, welding program and offer it in geographically isolated areas within the service area of the college where career and technical education (CTE) has been historically very limited. Cultural changes will occur within the regional community as children of first-generation immigrants attain post-secondary education and gainful employment, thus creating a positive generational learning outcome. Further benefits will accrue to the region as adult learners, those already employed seeking to improve job skills, and the unemployed capitalize on the accessibility of this education program. The project will impact both the state and the nation as this education paradigm is shared with other community colleges and organizations for improving employer partnerships and growth. A robust project evaluation will study the impact of this project on business and industry and on the students and workers involved. 

WELDCO is a cohort-specific curriculum design which includes variable integration of e-learning, Virtual Reality (VR) welding technology, and traditional training as a means of engaging nontraditional students. Formative and summative assessments will be employed to assess curriculum performance and modifications needed. The package takes full advantage of California legislative mandates and state funding for education programs (including high school pathways and post-secondary education) to enhance the impact on education and subsequent employment in the region. Students will benefit from the expanded internship opportunities and employer collaborations to help create a regional impact. This project focuses on 3 objectives: (a) development of a blended welding curriculum to integrate e-learning, VR instruction, and traditional classroom instruction that will lead to American Welding Society (AWS) certification; (b) optimization of course delivery to maximize efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement by addressing student cognitive preferences and learning styles; and (c) implementation of population specific recruitment to include Hispanic, minority, and female students.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
July 1st, 2017
ATE Expiration Date
November 30th, 2021
ATE Principal Investigator
Terry Brase
Primary Institution
West Hills Community College
Record Type
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