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OCC Welding Program Utilizing New Equipment Purchased Through Grant

Water Jet TableDowndraft Table PhotoOlney Central College has acquired new equipment for its Welding Program through a U.S. Economic Development Administration Grant.

An OMAX Water Jet machine, two Lincoln Electric downdraft tables and 11 Lincoln Electric welders have been acquired for student use. Instructor Curtis Marshall said the new items will give students experience utilizing the state-of-the-art equipment they will encounter in the workplace.

Numerous Fortune 500 companies utilize the OMAX-manufactured water jets. The most popular water jets on the market, they enable users to create a precision cut with a high-pressure stream of water.

“Before, students would have to mill parts out,” Marshall said. “Now we can put metal on the water jet and get a high-quality cut. We can use it to cut glass, stone and wood. It will cut through anything.”

Students also will benefit from the addition of the new downdraft tables, which pull air away and downward, preventing welders from breathing dust, fumes and smoke produced in the cutting and grinding process. The shop also stays cleaner as the dust is trapped in the table’s bin.

“It’s much healthier for the students and we are really happy to get these,” Marshall added.

The new welders feature a digital display and can be used for MIG, TIG, Stick and Flux Core welding.

“They are a lot more effective and will provide the students with a better learning experience because they won’t be swapping hoses when they get ready to perform a different process.”

The welders also include a USB port and can operate software. Marshall noted employers can track worker productivity with the equipment.

“I feel we have one of the best welding schools in the country,” Marshall said. “What we do here is equivalent to or a lot better than the bigger welding schools. It’s also more affordable.”

The U.S. Economic Development Administration promotes innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

Its investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. The EDA encourages its partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions.

Illinois Eastern Community Colleges does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religious affiliation, veteran status, national origin, disability, genetic information, or any other protected category.

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