The Lincoln Electric Co. is celebrating the opening of its brand-new Welding Technology and Training Center in Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Classes began at the 130,000-sq-ft facility on Jan. 8, but the company will officially cut the ribbon on March 21 with a reception and tour for an expected 250 invited guests. Attendees can also expect a message from chairman and CEO Chris Mapes. The American Welding Society Careers in Welding trailer will also be on hand.
The new building represents a $30 million investment in training for a new generation of welding leaders, according to a company statement. The Welding Technology and Training Center is dedicated to training educators, skilled trades and industrial teams in the craft and science of welding.
With a specific mission to train-the-trainer to address the needs of the industries Lincoln Electric serves, the state-of-the-art facility doubles the company’s welding education capacity. It features 13 welding school classrooms, six seminar rooms, a 100-seat auditorium, 166 welding and cutting booths and a virtual reality and training lab with 10 VRTEX welding simulators. In addition, the company is preparing to have the training center become an American Welding Society accredited testing facility.
Lincoln Electric’s welding school was founded in 1917. The new facility was built to commemorate its 100th anniversary and represents the school’s first major renovation since 1982. The two-story building sits on the company’s campus located about 12 miles east of Cleveland.
To learn more about what the new center has to offer, North American Oil & Gas Pipelines spoke to Jason Scales, business manager, education.
What courses will the center offer?
Welding skills classes actually began on Jan. 8. Each week new classes begin, including one-week classes in every arc welding process, API and ASME pipe and our 20-week comprehensive welding program. In addition, we have been host to numerous industrial teams and educators seeking professional development to advance their goals.
Later this spring, workshops and seminars will start up on the advanced technology side of the building just as final preparations in some of those rooms are completed.
Why did Lincoln Electric build this new center?
According to the American Welding Society, there are 372,000 job openings for welders or those related to welding in the next eight years. Everywhere you turn, news turns to the shortage of qualified applicants for these positions. We believe, as a welding manufacturer, as well as welding educators, we are at an important intersection to understand what industry is demanding in terms of advancing technology and productivity or quality requirements.
At the same time, we can use that knowledge to map what is necessary to prepare welding educators to deliver qualified applicants for those open positions. We now have the room to expand the curriculum to focus on the professional development of educators to prepare the next generation of welding leaders. We want to serve as a center for best practices in welding education.
The facility itself models for educators how a turnkey welding school should be equipped and serves as a showcase for our entire education portfolio of products and services for schools and governments around the world.
The other side of our professional development focus is to train industrial teams and individuals in the craft and science of welding. We also have a long tradition of advancing the knowledge of welding, civil and manufacturing engineers in the proper design for structures and weldments through our Blodgett seminars.
What will the new facility offer students?
Students will learn in a state-of-the-art facility where every detail was considered, from the size of the weld booth and the flexibility of the shielding gas switching apparatus, to the sound levels and sustainability of the welding fume extraction system. Students will be immersed in the latest techniques and theories related to welding and cutting. Educators, who typically come from industry with little background in teaching, will learn how to develop lesson plans and engage students, along with best practices in lab and classroom activities. The professional welding or manufacturing engineer will be able to gain exposure and training on the latest welding technologies. Academics and governments will be able to grasp the elements and design of a modern welding school.
How does the center help address the looming “age gap” in the construction industry?
By placing an emphasis on training-the-trainer and the showcase turnkey school concept for the academic or government customer, we hope to have a significant ripple effect on the industry. If we train the educators in advancing welding, cutting and teaching practices, we equip them to prepare graduates who are better prepared for career success. We are working to develop new education models that address the changing skills and talent necessary to fill the current demand.
Why is education important to Lincoln Electric’s mission?
Our founders understood that educating welders was necessary to spread the adoption of arc welding. We recognize that welding done with the right processes, procedures and solutions yields the safest and most productive weld. Educating the welding community about recommended safety, techniques, processes and procedures is essential to produce the right outcomes. This facility is the latest manifestation of that mission.
What does the new facility offer that Lincoln Electric couldn’t before?
The new facility offers more space, more light and more opportunity to expose attendees at every level to the latest proven welding and cutting technologies. The building also gives us the opportunity to expand professional development options for educators and corporate teams for the benefit of industry. We realized that we had to invest to realize our vision to propel welding education forward, help address the skills or knowledge gap and assist our customers with their goals.
The new space includes a dedicated virtual reality welding simulator lab that allows us to assess incoming student skills and train all more easily on basic stance and proper travel speed and angles for common welding processes and material thickness. Our advanced technology labs will host seminars for industrial customer groups, educators and engineers to address topics like production monitoring and more. Our skills training facility includes more booths to handle a greater variety of classes, a showcase fume control system and flexible shielding gas control in every booth. We now have room to conduct API and ASME pipe classes along with oxyfuel, plasma and CNC plasma cutting programs.
Who are the primary students who attend these courses?
In just the first few weeks alone, we have hosted a team of corporate trainers preparing to teach welding to apprentices all over the country. We hosted motorsports fabricators seeking tips on welding exotic materials for their teams. Experienced welders came in to qualify for API and ASME pipe welding certification. Those individuals preparing for a career in welding have enrolled in our 20-week comprehensive program. Our clientele comes from every industry and every level, every profession associated with the field of welding.
What pipeline-centric courses will the training center offer?
We are running API and ASME-specific pipe welding training. Pipe welding is also part of our 20-week comprehensive class. We are also ready to run custom training for any pipe contractor team preparing to qualify for a new joint, material or technology. We also run American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector seminars and hands-on test preparation programs.
For more information on Lincoln Electric’s Welding Technology and Training Center, visit education.lincolnelectric.com/welding-technology-and-training-center.