The Flint Hills Technical College welding program expansion is officially complete. A ribbon cutting at the W.S. & E.C Jones Trust Welding Center, 3701 W. Sixth Ave, was held on Wednesday.
“This is a state-of-the-art program that no one else has,” Dean Hollenbeck, FHTC president said.
At a cost of nearly $2 million to complete, the facilities include cutting-edge technology. Robotic or virtual trainers assist students as they move through the program. Federal grant funds in the amount of $1.4 million got the project started but private donations of $450,000 made the center a reality.
“From the foundation and private donors we put in about $450,000,” Mike Crouch, executive director of advancement said. “That primarily is what allowed us to remodel the entire building and cover all the construction costs. Then the equipment came from the federal grant.”
Enrollment is predicted to have 60 to 80 students the first year of operation. However, growth is likely to occur quickly as word spreads throughout the region. Hollenbeck says that the program is much needed to meet the demands of businesses throughout the region.
Students graduating from the welding technology program at FHTC have a high job placement rate. In addition, starting salaries are also good with most graduates entering the workforce at $37,500.
Close to 200 people toured the facility on Wednesday. They were able to visit with faculty and staff. Students and program alumni were also present to talk about their experiences in the program.
For information about the welding program or any educational opportunities at FHTC, visit www.fhtc.edu or call 341-1302.