SAVANNAH — Savannah Technical College’s Welding Department was recently designated a Level 1 and Level 2 SENSE school by the American Welding Society (AWS). SENSE or Schools Excelling through National Skill Standards Education establishes standards and guidelines for welder training.
“We worked tirelessly with AWS through both our student chapter and our instruction curriculum to become recognized nationally for SENSE accreditation,” said William Burns, department head for STC Welding and Joining Technology. “My staff has met and exceeded the rigorous guidelines set forth by AWS for more than two years to achieve SENSE School Status.”
SENSE training has three levels: entry welder (I), advanced welder (II) and expert welder (III). Upon successful completion of each level of the standards and guidelines, students may test to receive a certificate of completion. Level I is designed for entry-level training. Level II is designed for two-year career and technical education programs or for those with welding experience. Level III is for those in four-year programs or those with advanced experience.
“It’s important for our students to understand and uphold industry regulations once they enter the workforce, which is why our student chapter has been so active throughout the region,” said Burns. “We are proud of our students for engaging local industry partners through information sessions, student interaction, and internship opportunities.”
AWS is a not-for-profit membership organization that is the world’s authority on safe, productive welding. The society publishes the major technical standards used in welding of all types, and certifies welding professionals such as inspectors, supervisors and educators. In addition, AWS publishes technical magazines in three languages and operates trade shows in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The organization currently serves nearly 70,000 members worldwide and is composed of 22 districts with 250 sections and student chapters.
The Georgia Department of Labor notes welding and joining careers will increase by 15 percent or more over the next decade. The need for new welders hasn’t gone unnoticed by local employers. With industry partners such as JCB and Mitsubishi, STC has developed multiple internship tracks for new and current students. Advisory board members for the Welding and Joining department such as Pipe Fitters Union (Local 188), Iron Workers Union (Local 709), CST Coverings (formally Temcor), Savannah Tank, LMI Aerospace, and CSX – also work closely with instructors for new and updated course offerings, shaping the program to fit the needs and expectations of local businesses.
Savannah Tech offers a diploma in welding and joining along with technical certificates of credit in a variety of techniques for welding. Welding and Joining Technology is offered at the Savannah campus and at a new welding lab near the Effingham campus in Rincon.