Engineers get hands-on training in welding and machining

Caterpillar and Pima Community College (PCC) are launching an educational partnership to teach Caterpillar engineers hands-on skills in welding and machining.

“This public-private partnership exemplifies Pima’s ability to meet the needs of our employers,” PCC’s Chancellor Lee Lambert said.

On Aug. 24th Caterpillar and PCC formally announced their Applied Technology Academy. The program will be a series of hands-on courses designed to teach non-technical professionals and engineers fabrication skills.

Engineers don’t always have hands-on or end-user experience with products they design, and these new skills will allow participants to be better designers and innovators,” Pima Community College said in their press release.

Governor Doug Ducey, who attended the launch, applauded the partnership for continuing to teach Arizona’s workforce new skill sets.

“In Arizona’s booming, 21st-century economy, we know how important it is to continue growing our workforce knowledge base, skill set and technical training,” Governor Ducey said. “This type of training will equip Arizonans with the skills to take advantage of new and advanced career opportunities across the state.”

Tucson Mayor, Jonathan Rothschild was equally enthusiastic about the program.

“This just goes to show that our education system – K-12, community college and university – is of interest to employers. It produces their workforce and educates their employees’ children. It’s an important factor in where businesses decide to locate, or relocate,” he said. “Pima Community College is one of our community’s unsung heroes of economic development.”

Participants in the 20-week Applied Technology Academy will receive a Professional Development certificate.

The program was created for Caterpillar, but will open to the public next summer – allowing engineers from other companies to access the training.

“We came to Pima Community College with a vision to develop our employees and further enhance Caterpillar’s world-class design capability through the manufacturing trades,” Jean Savage, Vice President for Caterpillar’s Surface Mining & Technology Division said. “The team at PCC shared our passion for continual learning and for building technical talent in the local community through innovative partnerships like this.”

According to Savage, Caterpillar is excited to give their employees the opportunity to further develop hands-on technical skills, as well as deepen their understanding of how product design impacts quality, manufacturability, field serviceability and customer value.

The first two courses are Machining for Non-machinists and Basic Welding for Non-welders. They hope to include more applied technology skills classes in the future – such as basic woodworking, industrial arts, and mechatronics.

Emily Richardson

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