Students train with welding equipment in the Southern Maine Community College Manufacturing Technician Training Course, offered through SMCC’s Workforce Development Department. Credit: Southern Maine Community College

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Southern Maine Community College has opened a state-of-the-art welding lab at its Brunswick campus in order to train prospective employees to work at Bath Iron Works.

Through a grant from the Maine Quality Centers, part of the Maine Community College System, SMCC purchased 10 new welding stations, now located in a building leased by BIW several blocks from the college’s Midcoast Campus at Brunswick Landing.

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Once they have completed the Manufacturing Technician Training Course, which is designed for industrial applications including shipbuilding, construction and fabrication, they will be interviewed for positions at BIW, according to a release from the college.

The program is part of an effort by SMCC and BIW to train up to 90 prospective employees for positions at BIW, where many experienced workers are nearing retirement.

“This program is important to us because it will bring skilled workers to the shipbuilding ranks and further the overall workforce development within the state of Maine as we seek to attract and train a qualified workforce of the future,” Andrew Bond, Vice President of Human Resources at BIW, said in the release.

[BIW president says shipyard is ‘moving in the right direction’]

“SMCC is devoted to offering affordable, accessible workforce development training that strengthens Maine’s economy,” SMCC President Joe Cassidy said. “These welding stations represent our commitment to help businesses build the workforces they need to grow and thrive, while providing Maine workers the skills they need for high-paying careers with bright futures.”

The new welding equipment is portable and can be moved to other locations for future workforce training programs for other companies, according to the release.