Lincoln Electric officially cut the ribbon on its new 130,000-sq-ft Welding Technology & Training Center, located on its sprawling headquarters campus in Euclid, Ohio.
The March 21 event highlights Lincoln’s expanded educational offerings and commemorates the centennial anniversary of its welding school, which was founded in 1917 making it the longest-running welding school in the world.
“Our new center is a strategic investment to help our customers and educational partners grow using leading solutions,” said Christopher L. Mapes, chairman, president and CEO of Lincoln Electric. “Our educational offering and leadership in automation solutions provide meaningful solutions to address the skills gap and capacity constraints facing customers in our industry.”
According to Mapes, the center is the flagship for Lincoln Electric, which had 42 centers worldwide, and the company anticipates 7,000 visitors to the campus in 2018. It will solidify Lincoln Electric as a catalyst and thought leader in addressing the decades-long global worker shortage facing the industry, which by Lincoln Electric’s estimates will be 2 million unfilled jobs by 2025.
The facility represents a $30 million investment in training for a new generation of welding leaders and educators. The Center is a state-of-the art educational facility that features 166 welding and cutting booths (up from 66 at the previous Cleveland facility), a virtual reality training lab with 10 VRTEX virtual reality welding simulators, as well as extensive seminar and welding school classroom space, and a 100-seat auditorium to advance technical skills.
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“We are committed to providing students and customers with the relevant skills and knowledge needed to support career and technical schools, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure growth,” said Jason Scales, business manager, education, Lincoln Electric. “Our education model will shape the next generation of welders, managers and industry leaders.”
The center focuses on training welding educators, engineers and industrial professionals who are advancing welding in schools and industry globally. Additionally, the center provides advanced technical welding training for professionals, as well as a comprehensive portfolio of turnkey educational solutions that can be used to launch welding training at customers’ own facilities. Scales notes that the company anticipates that 30 percent of those walking through the door will be focused on starting in welding and 70 percent will be on professional development. There will also be a push to training veterans in the welding field.
Lincoln Electric’s extensive education portfolio includes an extensive educational curriculum, virtual reality and technology-assisted training tools, industry-leading welding and cutting solutions and robotic cells. The center will become an American Welding Society accredited testing facility later this year.
The Welding Technology & Training Center also offers two pipeline-specific training courses, focused on pipe that meets API and ASME standards.
“Our API pipe curriculum addresses a large need in the pipeline industry,” Scales said. “We can start students off with basic skills, then shift them to the API or ASME class, and then they can pursue orbital automation welding training.”