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Alpena community college had a ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of their new welding and manufacturing labs.

“We basically just opened up our new lab and our, new lab here is state of the art lab. We’ve been working on this project, with planning for a few years and now it’s finally coming together, and we’re able to you know, offer our students an experience that’s, that’s really as good as, really any program in the nation” said Tim Ratz, welding instructor at Alpena community college.

The original lab was 5,000ft2 and the new lab has increased space of 10,000ft2 with additional welding booths which will allow students more room to work on their projects.

“We’re able to offer equipment that we never had before, so you know, to offer training and we actually created a new class in CNC thermal cutting systems to allow students to learn on equipment that we never offered before. So this is going to really give them a benefit of learning new equipment processes” said Ratz.

The additions to the new labs totaled 3.5 million dollars. 2.4 million dollars of that amount, was provided by the United States Economic Development Administration Grant which is a public works grant. Privately owned businesses such as Besser Company and Star Cutter also assisted in funding these labs.

“It’s training people on what they all see in the workplace so that, that part is good for students and it’s good for employers, and it’s training them also, to understand that what happens in the workforce, the equipment, the technology, the processes always change” said Don Macmaster, President of Alpena Community College.

The welding lab features new equipment such as: ventilators, CNC Plasma and Oxyfuel tables and welders which will help enhance the students learning experience. Macmaster appreciates all of the donors that helped contribute to funding these labs.