Jones College receives AWS Welding Workforce Grant 

ELLISVILLE – Jones College was one of eleven educational institutions and the only Mississippi school to receive a $25,000 grant from the American Welding Society’s Foundation. The grant was awarded with the intention of these institutions making improvements, investing in capital items such as welding or metalworking equipment or purchase/upgrade computers or computer-based training systems.

Welding is critical to the American  manufacturing, construction, and energy infrastructure. A skilled welder is a vital component in rebuilding the American workforce. Monica Pfarr, Executive Director of the American Welding Society Foundation said, “We applaud the dedication Jones County Junior College has demonstrated in expanding their welding education programs and facilities, their commitment to the welding industry, and cultivating the next generation of welding technicians and professionals through education is inspiring.”

Rod Tolbert, Dean of Career and Technical Education

As a professional welder and the Jones College’s Dean of Career and Technical Education, Rod Tolbert said the additional welding equipment will provide additional opportunities for students to get hands-on-training, minimizing down time waiting in the shop.

“This grant will allow the welding program to be more efficient in the flow of work through the shop, as well as giving students the opportunity to utilize the latest equipment available,” said Tolbert. “The workforce gap for trained welders is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. Jones College is here to close that gap by increasing student recruitment, graduates and supplying the welding industry with skilled welders.”

Purchasing three, multi-process welder machines, wire feeders for the machines and two plasma cutters is expected to help mitigate the welding workforce demand by offering more students the opportunity to become skilled welders. This state-of-the-art equipment, along with the updated welding machines and the additional plasma cutters are critical to the manufacturing industry are vital components to rebuilding the American workforce according to Tolbert.

“Typically, Jones College’s welding programs have about 40-50 students complete the program with most being employed upon graduation. The additional equipment purchased with the AWS Foundation Grant will enable JC to enroll up to 120 students in all three pathways,” said Tolbert.

JC Welding instructor, Billy Clark and student, Darla Williams of Waynesboro.

Jones College offers day and night classes and three, degree options for welding students including a two-semester career certificate, a three-semester technical welding certificate, and a four-semester associate in applied science degree. Additionally, there are Welding Certificate options and specialized industry training through Workforce College. For more information about Jones College’s welding programs click on these two websites or