Gonzales welcomes VC welding program

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

July 15, 2013 at 2:15 a.m.
Updated July 16, 2013 at 2:16 a.m.

Clay Boscamp is eagerly anticipating the new welding program starting at the Victoria College Gonzales campus next spring.

"It sounds great," said Boscamp, a rancher and welder with 50 years of experience under his belt. "It'll be a real great opportunity for anybody attending the college because there's not anywhere around here where you can get training like that."

On Monday, the Victoria College board approved a contract using $92,689 provided by the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation for an electrical upgrade needed for the center's new welding lab.

South Central Electric, of Flatonia, will do the work.

For about $400,000, the city of Gonzales purchased the former Chevrolet dealership to be renovated for the new workforce training center, said Larry Garrett, VC executive director of special projects.

The new Gonzales project will add two general classrooms, a welding training facility, a construction trades classroom and a lab, Garrett said.

"We also added a larger science lab to double the capacity for science courses."

Other community donations for the new workforce center were provided by the Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms, the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, Southern Clay Products, Pioneer Natural Resources and the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation.

"It's been a great partnership," Garrett said. "The school districts have expressed a lot of interest in this."

Boscamp, who opened his own welding shop a few years ago, said he and another welder in Gonzales are in need of more employees to take on a growing workload spurred by the Eagle Ford Shale boom.

"We can't possibly do all this work ourselves," Boscamp said. "With all the businesses that are coming to Gonzales, there's going to be more and more welding work."

VC Gonzales Center manager Jackie Mikesh said she's received several inquiries from Gonzales High School graduates interested in a welding career.

"In fact, I met with a company today at noon that is looking at needing welders in the spring of 2014," Mikesh said.

Since the center opened in 2007, the community has called for a welding program, Mikesh said.

After the upgrades are made, classes will begin in January.

"It will be very timely," Mikesh said. "It's going to be a really positive addition to the course offerings to VC in Gonzales."



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