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FDTC Welding Program Provides Skilled Workers

FLORENCE, S.C. (November 29, 2018) - Florence-Darlington Technical College’s (FDTC’s) Welding Department has been providing highly skilled and educated workers for decades to meet the demands of regional industry. It offers programs that can be completed in a few weeks (certificate) or in two years (degree).

Jamie King, Director of FDTC’s Welding Department said, “There is a program that is right for almost everyone – from those who have no experience, to those who are seeking to add additional skills. One example is our Pipe Welding program. This program only accepts students who are already high quality welders. Once students have completed the program, they are eligible to test and be certified to work in a nuclear environment. This credential leads to much higher salaries for those welders who have it.”  Since 2008, 199 pipe welders have successfully completed the program and most are now employed and making considerably more money than they would without this credential.

In 2012-2013, FDTC developed the curriculum for both Pipe Fitters and Valve Technicians. Located in the same building and laboratories as the welding students, students in these three programs work together as they would on the job site. Physical repetition and coordination among the students helps them learn and reinforces the good skills and preferred work habits that have been shown to contribute to higher job safety.  Again, once they receive their certifications, most go to work at either nuclear facilities or the maintenance companies that work the outages.  An additional 85 students have been certified since 2012-2013 and most are now working.

FDTC works hard to secure scholarship funds that will allow the Welding Department to admit the most qualified students, regardless of ability to pay tuition and fees. This highly successful program has innovative recruiting and marketing strategies, many components to ensure student success and instructor-student teams to ensure a high level of skills accomplishment. 

Welding has moved into the 21st century, as Ross Gandy, the retired Director of the Welding Program said, “Some of the most gifted and highly skilled welders are women. A number of women have gone through the programs and most have been hired very quickly.”

As the regional workforce has expanded and changed, new programs have been added that complement those already offered. For instance, FDTC is now offering a 10 week Industrial MIG program specifically for local industry. The type of welding that is done inside buildings is taught in this class, added Welding Director King. Additionally, new programs such as Rigging and Signaling have been added to the line-up. The program lasts five weeks and anywhere that a crane is moving crates, such as at inland ports or construction sites need Riggers and Signalers.

To learn more about any of these programs offered through FDTC’s Welding Department, call Lou Ann Dayton at 813-413-2720.

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