EDA grant to boost workforce training in Western NC

Mayland Community College receives $394,500

Maryland Community College—Maryland Community College

SPRUCE PINE — A grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce is enabling Mayland Community College to continue bolstering workforce training in Western North Carolina.The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $394,500 grant to Mayland Community College for the renovation and expansion of an existing facility that will allow the American Welding Society to provide advance welding certification to students.”EDA investments help to ensure that the training of American workers is not overlooked,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs Dennis Alvord. “This EDA investment will allow MCC to train additional welding students to support the needs of the region’s business community.”The mission of the EDA is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.Mayland Community College President Dr. John C. Boyd added, “Our mission is workforce development. We are preparing the workforce for existing industries and in particular, boosting the economy of the three counties we serve — Mitchell, Avery and Yancey. Community colleges are all the workforce trainers of the state economy in North Carolina.”Mayland Community College offers a welding technology diploma, and basic and advanced welding technology certificates. The curriculum provides students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the science, technology and applications essential for employment in the welding and metals industry — an industry in high demand in the western part of North Carolina.For example, Altec Industries is one of Mayland Community College’s biggest industrial partners. Offering a range of services — including the fabrication of truck beds to the tools, equipment and technicians needed to get trucks up and running — the company has a big demand for welders.”They are one of our biggest industrial partners,” said Boyd. “Altec recently invested $15 million in expansion which added 150 jobs that includes the needs for welders.”With the backing of the EDA grant, an estimated 50 additional students are expected to be trained in welding at Mayland and the welding facility will receive a much needed upgrade.”We currently have a small, outdated facility,” said Boyd. “This grant allows us to add a classroom as well as gut and rebuild the existing facility to increase the educational experience of our students and to continue to produce high-level certifications in welding.”The facility will provide high-level welding training to support existing industry expansion. The increased space will allow for more classes to be offered, allowing MCC to expand its program to offer a two-year degree program in welding that provides skills and competencies needed by regional employers.In addition to welding bringing a large population of students to Mayland Community College, other students are coming to the institution to earn degrees in nursing and applied engineering services. Mayland Community College is made up of three campuses: the Main Campus in Spruce Pine, the Avery Learning Center in Newland, and the Yancey Learning Center in Burnsville.