Keystone Community Education Council, Specialty FAB, and Venango Technology Center Collaborate on new Combination Welding Apprenticeship.

A welding apprenticeship program that is the first of its kind in our region is starting at Specialty Fabrication and Powder Coating.  The Keystone Community Education Council in Oil City is sponsoring the state-approved Combination Welder Apprenticeship.

L to R:  Lance Hummer (Executive Director of Keystone Community Education Council), apprenticeship participants Nathan Hall, Gabe Johnson, and Andrew Prichard, Earl Lytle (Vice President of Operations at Specialty Fabrication and Powder Coating)

“This apprenticeship is unique, because the participants obtain their educational component through the Welding Technology certificate program,” according to Lance Hummer, Executive Director of KCEC.

The certificate program is composed of 18 college credits.  It’s being taught in the evenings by an adjunct for the Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh)—but at the Venango Technology Center in Oil City.

Hummer added, “The work component will be completed at Specialty Fab, and the three participants will get their co-op time counted toward the state’s apprenticeship requirement of 4,000 on-the-job-training hours.”

Hummer recognized Carol Miller, Adult Education Coordinator at VTC, and Bob Moore, Cooperative Education Coordinator at VTC, for their help with the apprenticeship program.

Moore said to the program participants, “You should be proud of yourselves.  This is the first of its kind in the area, so consider yourselves to be trailblazers.”

Miller added, “I usually work with high school graduates, but you younger students have impressed me.”  She also reminded the program participants that they will get pre-apprenticeship certificates upon their graduation from high school.

The high school seniors involved with the Combination Welder Apprenticeship program include Nathan Hall, Gabriel Johnson, and Andrew Prichard.  Regarding this inaugural class, Johnson said, “The support of this program and Specialty Fabrication and Powder Coating will help me to build a foundation and further my skills in the welding profession while working during high school.”

Shawn DeLong, Apprenticeship Coordinator for Keystone, said, “Specialty Fab is very busy and looking for more welders.  It was a good fit to implement our new apprenticeship program there.”

Earl Lytle, Vice President of Operations at Specialty Fab, told the apprenticeship participants, “You will find good-paying job opportunities when you finish the program.  And you have the chance to be entrepreneurs, not only welders.”

For more information on the program, please contact Lance Hummer at 814-677-4427 or [email protected].