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ACC Welding Program Receives Technological Upgrades

After receiving a $3 million Economic Development Administration grant, the Alpena Community College welding and manufacturing labs underwent a renovation project.

That includes new technology and more workspace for students.

“We were fortunate to receive that to help offset the cost of doing a project like this which is very expensive to do, but thankfully now we’re able to completely have modern facilities because of it,” said ACC welding program supervisor Tim Ratz.

Before, students had very little room to work in welding booths and in the lab in general. Some of the technology was nearly 50 years old as well. One of the new pieces of equipment is a brand–new plasma and oxyfuel cutting table.

“Having newer machines is always nice because there’s more modernized systems that come with those machines that would allow you to spend more time practicing your welding instead of messing around with the settings,” said first-year welding student Keegan Szatkowski.

Having modern equipment can be beneficial for the students in the program, because if they pursue a career in welding, they already have an understanding of how to operate the machinery.

“We went over to Besser for a field trip and they had one of these, but it was a lot bigger, but being able to practice on something smaller would allow me to then know how to run the bigger one because they are essentially the same, just different sizes,” said Szatkowski.

The program having an efficient workspace with updated technology can also look much more appealing to prospective students as well.

“Anytime that you have a nice, modern facility, it’s more attractive,” said Ratz. “This is the way really that manufacturing and welding should be.”

The welding program just got the new table in on Tuesday and hopes to have it functioning and operational soon.