The Starke County Economic Development Foundation and the SCILL Center have announced the start of a new welding program for high school students within the North Central Area Vocational Cooperative in Starke, Marshall, St. Joseph and Fulton Counties.
The program currently has a full class of 12 students and certified welder Andrew Odle is the instructor of the program.
The welding lab is in the Knox Middle School in the former wood shop area. The Knox School Board gave permission to convert that room for this purpose and so far, it is working out well. ArcerlorMittal provided materials and labor to build 12 work stations and Sabre Manufacturing donated cleaning services and paint for the stations. Funding to purchase equipment for the lab came from the Vocational Co-op.
Several local and area industries have pledged money and materials needed for the welding lab and the Starke County Community Foundation, Kankakee Valley REMC and NIPSCO provided seed money and Starke County has committed CEDIT Economic Development Funds for the project.
This program will also be benefited by Vincennes University which will provide their curriculum, help fund various aspects of the program and provide an opportunity for students to obtain dual credits for both a high school diploma and college credits. Upon successful completion of the program, students will obtain an American Welding Society Certification.