SmallTownNews
Welding training partnership exceeds expectations

by Kurtis Workman Press Staff Writer

The Aberdeen Times of Aberdeen, Idaho

The partnership between the J.R. Simplot Company, American Falls School District and Idaho State University has expanded beyond anticipations before classes have started.

Originally expecting 15 to 20 students for the welding classes slated to begin on Monday, March 3, registration is now at 70 potentially displaced workers signed up to renew or advance their welding certifications.

The partnership gives Sim-plot employees a chance to obtain new marketable skills ahead of the Aberdeen plant closure.

American Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Ron Bolinger said the larg-er-than-expected enrollment speaks to the need for more educational opportunities.

"This really speaks to the value of this program for those in the position of changing careers," said Bolinger. The value of the program will extend to other groups. Bolinger said the current class offering has been increased to five evenings a week to accommodate those signed up for the first session. After the students from Simplot have gone through the three-month course, the school plans to offer the program to members of the community.

"This allows us to teach our high school students on better equipment which will make their progress through higher education welding programs easier and more cost effective. We will also be opening the program up to people in the community that want to become certified welders," said Bolinger.

The details of how the program will work once it is opened to the public are still being worked out. In the mean time Bolinger is optimistic about the partnership.

"Obviously people want the training and this will benefit our students and community. This partnership is a great fit for everyone," Bolinger said.



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