Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Kim Glasscock

NCA welding signs


Photo courtesy Johnny Barrett Duncan Barrett grins as he holds a donation check from the Niwot Community Association to support the welding program at the Career Development Center. From left are welding instructor James Cade, Barrett, welding instructor Bill Anthony and NCA President Dick Piland.

A need for sturdier event, detour and road closed signs in Niwot led to a spring project for welding students at St. Vrain Valley School District’s Career Development Center (CDC).

“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Niwot Community Association President Dick Piland.”We get better road signs and the high school students were able to put their skills to use on a community project.”

Last winter, NCA board members investigated purchasing five stands for road signs, but were concerned about high shipping costs for the stands. Instead, the group decided to explore making the stands. A suggestion by a board member to take the project to the CDC welding class was enthusiastically endorsed by board members and the community project was created.

CDC welding class teachers Bill Anthony and James Cade welcomed the proposed project. “We offer welding classes with the goal of getting our students certified in various techniques,” Anthony said. “Working on a real-world project is a great way for our students to get experience.”

Niwot High School senior Duncan Barrett, a CDC welding 2 student, took over the project.

“It was a good experience,” Barrett said. “Of course, it had its moments of frustration when I wasn’t happy with a weld and had to find more materials and redo it, but overall it was good.”

“We’re really pleased with how this turned out,” Piland said. “We need to encourage those kids who are interested in entering the trades, because pretty soon there will be a shortage of well-trained tradesmen. And the sign stands are well-made and sturdy.”

The NCA board donated $650 to the welding program to cover material costs and to help sustain the program.

Students in the CDC welding classes learn a variety of welding techniques and safety requirements along with acquiring the necessary skills for certification in some techniques, said Anthony. More than 100 students are enrolled in the three CDC welding class levels this school year.

In addition, students can also earn welding credits at Front Range Community College through the school district’s concurrent enrollment program. “This is the first year that our students have been able to get Front Range credits and it’s been popular,” Cade said. “We also offer training geared toward the needs of our local welding shop employers.”

Two student teams of welders recently took first and second places in the Skills USA state welding competition. One student won third place in individual competition. “Our students are really quite talented,” Cade said.

Front Range Community College - Larimer and Brighton campuses offer both an associate’s degree and certificates in welding techniques. Barrett said he plans to continue his education at the Larimer campus after high school graduation.

Anthony said the CDC welding program is always open to taking on projects from the community. “We’ve fabricated hand rails, staircases, trash can locks and other projects. They can almost fabricate anything,” he said. “But we’re wrapping up for the summer, so people will have to wait until fall.”

Anyone interested in bringing a project to the welding class can contact the CDC at 303-772-3333.


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