$10,000 Gift Helps Welding Students Become Industry-Ready

Thanks to a generous gift from Jon and Christi Stewart, the Welding program at the Olathe Advanced Technical Center (OATC) will have a new Power Bending/Rolling machine.    
“We are very excited about the possibilities presented with the purchase of this equipment,” said Gary Pommier, OATC Welding Technology instructor.  “The equipment will be used to teach manufacturing and fabrication procedures, allowing students the opportunity to see a project through from conception to completion.  Everything from fire pits to smokers decorated with school logos are now possible with the purchase of this equipment.”
The $10,000 gift will purchase a GMC Heavy Duty Power Plate Bending Rolls machine, materials, and prep work for the OATC facility to accommodate the equipment.
“Jon and Christi’s incredibly generous gift will help students create even more complex projects from start to finish,” said Cindy VonFeldt, Olathe Public Schools Foundation Executive Director.  “The Welding Technology Advisory Committee has recommended for several years that the program search for equipment that furthers our students’ fabrication skills. We are thrilled that we were able to connect the Stewart’s interest in welding together with our OATC program."
The Welding program at the OATC provides classroom instruction and shop activities utilizing a variety of processes, techniques and equipment to prepare students for the American Welding Society Welder Certification Program.  One hundred percent of the welding students in the OATC program either are placed in welding jobs or go on to earn advanced vocational training in welding.  By training students in welding, a skill for which there is a drastic shortage of skilled workers, local manufacturers and machinists can count on a pool of applicants for hard-to-fill positions.   According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average income for a welding technician is $55,000 while the average income level for a sheet metal worker is $67,500.  

Learn more about the Welding program, along with other great vocational programs offered at the OATC, by visiting http://schools.olatheschools.com/buildings/oatc/