Butte College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday in order to celebrate their new welding and manufacturing facility.
The welding program at Butte College is one of the technical programs that the college offers. The program, which students complete in two semesters, contains rigorous hours and requires dedication from their students.
“It runs Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays,” said Don Robinson, the director of Butte’s welding program. “I think running the program for the hours that we do… really represents what a welder would work out in the industry, so that’s already giving them those long hours during the week so they’re used to that.”
The program, according to their website, is a minimum of 1,590 hours, and a student with more than 24 hours of absences per semester will be dropped from the program.
Butte’s program is well sought-after by students due to the increase in demand for welders.
“There is also a demand, meaning a waitlist, to get into the welding program,” Robinson said. “So that’s why we decided to build this building and that’s why it’s important, so that we can train individuals and get them out into the workforce faster to meet industry demands.”
With this new building, the program can hold more students to meet this demand.
“Our housing capacity (at the old building) was 60 students where here we will have 92 students,” Robinson said. “Over there we only did one cohort… here our plan is to do two cohorts at 46 in each cohort.”
Butte College President Samia Yaqub, in her opening statements for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praised the program and what this new building will do for it.
“Our college’s welding program was already recognized nationally as a primer technical education program, and this new facility truly sets itself apart across the nation,” Yaqub said.
This $23 million facility was paid for by Measure J, a measure passed in 2016 that gave Butte College a general obligation bond of $190 million to go towards school projects.
“I believe this facility wouldn’t be possible without the voters passing Measure J,” Robinson said.
President Yaqub shared the same sentiment.
“We are very grateful for local voters who approved the bond measure to allow us to expand our career and technical programs,” Yaqub said.
Welding students and the college’s trustees joined President Yaqub in cutting the ribbon on the new building.
After the ribbon was cut, attendees were taken into the facility where two welding students held their own pipe-cutting ceremony, using their new equipment to cut off two ends of a pipe.
This new building will allow for growth for the technical programs at the college, and for the college itself.
“The construction of this building amid the difficult circumstances that our community has faced has been a positive focus for us here at the college,” President Yaqub said.
Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports