Welding program expanding at Northwoods college - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Welding program expanding at Northwoods college

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RHINELANDER (WAOW) -

Interest in welding is growing fast at Nicolet College in Rhinelander.

"Where we used to have enrollments of about 17 students to 20 students per year, now we have about 51 students per semester," said Dean of Trade and Industry, Brigitte Parsons.

Educators there said a recent wave of money will help them keep up with demand.

They said thanks to some new grants, they're able to handle the influx of students looking to learn how to weld and have even added six new workstations so that students have plenty of room to learn.

"It's a lot of good money, it really helps support our manufacturers in Northern Wisconsin and that's where a lot of the jobs are," said Parsons.

Overall, the college has received more than $1.2 million in state and federal grants. The Dean of Trade and Industry said the money will directly help the welding industry in Wisconsin.

"It's building a strong pipeline of people out into the community that have those skills, to be a more steady supply of workers," said Parsons.

Students said they're excited about the growing program and the opportunities ahead.

"It's a returning industry, there's a huge demand for it, if you play your cards right you can end up somewhere, living very comfortably," said Welding Student, Dana DeMet.

Industry leaders said they'll need even more welders in the future, as many skilled workers retire.

"The need for us to get younger people involved and interested in the welding career is very, very important," said Schuette Metals President, John Peterson.

Preparing the next generation of welders in Wisconsin.

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