JJC Recognizes Lincoln-Way Students with Welding Awards

Joliet Junior College awarded plaques, new welding machines and helmets to three Lincoln-Way students for winning the college’s seventh annual high school welding competition in May.

JJC Welding Competition 2017

Tyler Mahy of Lincoln-Way East won first place; Adrian Villasenor of Lincoln-Way East received second place; and Kevin Fox of Lincoln-Way Central took third place.

Prizes were donated by Lincoln Electric, Miller Electric and U.S. Gas. In addition to the winners were 80 high school participants, who all received JJC T-shirts from the JJC Technical Department and gloves donated by U.S. Gas. Other students won gift cards donated by Exxon Mobile via a raffle and all were treated to a free lunch and got to tour the campus.

The competition included a two-part test: a 20-minute welding portion, where students welded together a T-joint and lap joint, and a written test. Winners were chosen based on workmanship and how well they performed on the test.

JJC Welding Program Coordinator Greg Foster said he was impressed with this year’s group of students.

“One of the best parts is that every semester, I’ll get new students and some of them will come up to me and say that they took part in this high school competition,” he said.

JJC is a leader in providing programs that train students in key industries, such as welding, because the college offers hands-on training and an innovative curriculum. 

JJC’s welding facility received an upgrade five years ago, thanks to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant. JJC’s facility boasts a total of 18 individual welding booths designed for practicing oxy-fuel and gas-tungsten welding. Virtual welders are also available to students, which provide the opportunity to practice welding skills safely in a simulated environment before moving on to the real booths.

Foster said that welding is an up-and-coming field because many current welders are of retirement age. In addition to becoming a welder, cutter, solderer or brazer, there are also opportunities in pipe fitting, as an iron worker, as a boiler maker, and in operating engineering.

JJC welding graduates have gone to work at Local 597 in the apprenticeship program, at Manhattan Mechanical as welders and inspectors, and as welders at Lockport Steel, Illinois Marine Towing, and various railroad car repair shops in the area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders earn an average yearly salary of $39,390.

To learn more about JJC’s welding program, visit www.jjc.edu/welding-technology.

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