When the new Technical Education Center for Welding and Entrepreneurship at Wallace State Community College opens, it will be a much-needed addition to the college's expanding welding program. The facility, which will function as part business incubator and part training center for student welders, is estimated to create 98 new jobs and invest $25 million in payroll revenue into the community in the first eight years, The Cullman Tribune reports. The college broke ground on the project last week: 

WSCC Dean of Applied Technologies Jimmy Hodges explained the need for an expansion of the welding program.

Said Hodges, “This new welding facility is just going to transform our program. It’s going to take it to the next level, because we currently have about 50 welding booths in our current facility.  Welders, if you don’t know this, are in one of the highest demand trades in the nation, not just in Alabama, and they also are paid extremely well.  And they can go all over the world and fulfill their trade: you can go work on a pipeline; you can work in a manufacturing facility.

Hodges continued, “But this new building here, it’s going to double and close to triple the size of our current facility, so we’ll be able to serve more students, get more students trained, get them jobs, employed. This facility will include some robotic welding cells, which is something we have not currently been able to teach.  It will include pipe welding, which we have done on a limited basis. So this is going to expand our horizons on what we can offer our students.”

The center is expected to open in 2020.