GREELEY — Two college campuses in Weld County are about to offer weekend classes in, appropriately, welding.
The Aims Community College Welding Technology program will begin offering classes on the Greeley campus in January and the Fort Lupton campus in August, the college announced Tuesday.
Aims is launching the weekend program to address the high demand for enrollment. It has held welding classes in Greeley since 1968 and expanded the program to the Fort Lupton campus in 2015. Since 2017, the number of welding faculty has tripled to 20 full-time and part-time instructors. The welding labs on both campuses have been recently expanded, remodeled and updated with the latest technologies.
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Because of the high demand to enter the program, students are often placed on a waitlist before taking a welding class. The average wait time to begin welding classes at Aims is two semesters, the college said. Adding a weekend option is designed to expand student capacity, cut waitlist duration and provide more flexibility for learners who may work during the week.
Aims offers a Welding Technology Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates that cover specific welding techniques including welding technician, metal fabrication, pipe welding, arc-welding processes, and metal cutting and gouging.
The college’s welding facilities are equipped with industry-standard welding and cutting equipment specific to the processes taught in the curriculum, as well as software and hardware.
Cody Jones, the department chair and a professor of welding technology, said he sees welding as an opportunity for mechanically inclined people seeking to join a highly desirable trade.
“About half of our students are working in the field before graduation,” Jones said. “If a welder wants a job, they can find one often within 48 hours.”
According to the American Welding Society, 360,000 new welding professionals are projected to be needed by 2027 because of industry growth and the anticipated attrition of professionals retiring, advancing or changing industries. More than 155,000 welders are approaching retirement.
More information is online at aims.edu/welding.