The Welding Program at Central Alabama Community College partnered with Lincoln Electric to provide online and in-class learning for students.

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Video by Jake Arthur

At the beginning of the pandemic Central Alabama Community College (CACC) welding instructor D.J. James was faced with a dilemma. How does one instruct the 41 students in the hands-on skill of welding though the internet.

That is when learning company NC3 and world leader in welding Lincoln Electric came into play. James had some experience with the Lincoln Electric LEEPS program. James took a tour of the Lincoln Electric Welding Technology & Training Center in Cleveland, Ohio and wanted to bring what the program had to offer back to Alex City before the pandemic.

NC3 is an online learning platform used by the likes of Snap-On, 3M and Trane to train future blue collar workers on industry leading platforms while earning certifications.

The combination of the two allowed the welding program not only to adapt to the challenge but improve despite of it.

“It’s just an all around different style of learning.” said James. “It tells you more of a story of why you’re doing what you’re doing — way better than an instruction manual.”

Students at CACC have earned over 150 certifications since the start of the program last summer.

Students can learn and earn certifications in a number of different welding techniques and classes include blueprint reading and plasma cutting.

Students use an online textbook which includes videos and interactive diagrams that you can’t get through traditional textbooks.

There is still an in-person component to the courses. Students practice welds of varying difficulties throughout the shop. While those ahead in the course practice through building practical items such as park benches and statues.