Welding Center brings needed job skills training to the South Bayby Jan Janes on Jul 12, 2019
Gavilan College Contract and Community Education programs expanded to include a new welding center in Morgan Hill at Ann Sobrato High School.
A welding center student works on a new project in lab during class.
Responding to local needs, Gavilan College partnered with Morgan Hill Unified School District, Morgan Hill Rotary Club and local manufacturing businesses to launch a Welding Center at Ann Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill.
“I met with the owner of a local manufacturing company at a Work Incentive and Opportunity meeting,” said Susan Sweeney, Director of Contract and Community Education. “He couldn’t find employees to hire, so we talked about what he needed.”
Out of multiple conversations, a location for training was identified and a plan for the first class was crafted.
“We need more people in the trades,” said Tim Herlihy, President of Creative Manufacturing Solutions (CMS), an ISO 9001 certified business in Morgan Hill. He noted the high wages, expanding job opportunities and an aging employee base as key to establishing the center.
“Sobrato had the empty facility, CMS offered a weld manager willing to teach the class,” said Sweeney. “Gavilan College developed the curriculum and Rotary Morgan Hill contributed donations in funding and facility clean up.” The partnership plans to develop additional curriculum and raise funds for additional equipment.
Rotary members Rosy Bergin, Arline Greenberg, Theresa Kiernan, Steve
Betando and Lisa Bjarke pose in the new Welding Center with Susan Sweeney,
(second from right) Gavilan College Director of Contract and Community Education.
The existing welding instructional area on Sobrato’s campus was cleaned and organized in June and additional equipment was purchased. The first eight-week beginning class launched with a range of students learning how to weld and how to read blueprints and symbols. Taught by CMS weld manager Mario Flores, he leaves his job early on class days and preps for each lesson.
“Think of the trades today as high-tech tinkering in your dad’s garage,” said Herlihy. Manufacturing companies are building advanced medical devices, laser eye surgery machines, and equipment in the semiconductor, biotech, aerospace and automotive industries.
“Kids think they want to work for a big tech company,” he said. But when students are shown behind the scenes how drones, phones and cars like a Tesla are made, it piques their interest. Herlihy also cites youth interest in robotics, specifically the First Robotics Challenge.
Students follow curriculum handouts as Mario Flores, in rear at whiteboard,
offers instruction and fields questions.
Attending this first class is Nick Parrish, who lives in Spokane, Washington. He was learning some of the trade at the local union, and his dad was a welder. “My mom, who lives in Hollister, found this program through Gavilan,” he said. He enjoys the instructor and wants to build the skillset to get a good paying job. “I love to weld and really like the teacher.” His future goals include underwater welding.
Morgan Hill resident Jill Kunishige pulled the recent brochure of summer classes out of her mailbox and started leafing through it. “I never do this, look at this,” she said. But there was the listing for the welding class. “I thought to show it to my son, but realized I was the one interested in it, so here I am.” Her son thinks it’s cool she is taking the class. The family owns land, and welding is a skill Kunishige can put to good use to fix tools and do repairs around their property.
After welding a seam, Jill Kunishige hammers the joint to ensure it will hold
Future classes are planned, including advanced welding, electrical, plumbing and tiling. Click here for the current Community Education 2019 Summer Classes. To discuss new classes, email Susan Sweeney or call 408-229-4206.