On Monday, November 15, Danville Community College (DCC) and the Danville Community College Educational Foundation held a dedication and naming ceremony for their state-of-the-art welding facility, now known officially as Kiwanis Club of Danville Foundation – Danville Lions Foundation, Inc., Welding Center of Excellence.
“We want to graciously thank the partners and supporters in our community who have made this incredible facility possible for our students and our community,” said Dr. Muriel Mickles, interim president at DCC. “We are so proud to be able to offer this state-of-the-art learning environment to our future welders.”
The dedication ceremony was the culmination of a decade-long commitment of over $18 million invested by both the public and private sector to create a specialized hub for DCC to train and produce expert machinists, metrologists, automotive technicians, and welders in support of local industries. The project would not have been possible without financial support from the Virginia General Assembly, Danville Regional Foundation, Go Virginia – Region 3, Kiwanis Club of Danville Foundation, Danville Lions Foundation, Inc., J.T. - Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the Webb Family, and the Pruitt Trust. In addition, the Virginia Region Revitalization Commission has been instrumental in providing workforce financial aid support to DCC students in the aforementioned programs.
“This dedication has been a long-time coming thanks to the delays associated with COVID-19 but finally, today, we are able recognize and thank the many investors who believed in this project and DCC,” said Shannon Hair, vice president of institutional advancement & development and executive director of the DCC Educational Foundation. “While the construction of the new Welding Center of Excellence is tangible, the partnerships created prior to construction are why we are here today. Without these relationships, both in the public and private sector, this facility would not be a reality for our community, faculty, staff, and students.”
The workforce for local industries like Lincoln Electric, Morgan Olson, Jarrett Welding, and Amthor depends heavily on welding graduates from DCC to support their operations.
“The DCC welding program is the premier welding program in the region and one of the best in the state,” said Greg McQuaid, technical sales representative for Lincoln Electric Company. “They have the most up-to-date technology and can teach all welding processes including pulse mig and robotic welding. The instructors are excellent and they really understand how to help their students get employment in the welding industry.”
The official name of the facility, Kiwanis Club of Danville Foundation – Danville Lions Foundation, Inc. Welding Center of Excellence, is bestowed in honor of the $500,000 gift made by the E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust on behalf of the two civic organizations.
“We want to extend a special thank you to American National Bank & Trust, the entity that administers the Grant Trust, for their support of the DCC welding program,” said Hair.
“J.T. – Minnie Maude Charitable Trust Board of Trustees is very pleased with this facility and the caliber of students it produces,” said Mr. Fred Webb, J.T. – Minnie Maude Charitable Trust Executive Director.
“Our dad would be very proud to have his name, Fred Webb, Sr., associated with this welding program and we think it’s wonderful that Mr. Herb Hardy, who knew our Dad, runs the program,” said Mr. Fred Webb, on behalf of the Webb Family.
With the official dedication of this facility complete, DCC looks to the future of workforce and economic development with new, innovative programs that allow more diverse student groups to pursue their goals.
“Our recent ‘Weekend Welding’ project is an excellent example of how this facility is being utilized in exciting ways, outside of our standard welding program,” said Dr. Brian Jackson, vice president of workforce services at DCC. “Due to the flexible, alternative hours, we saw an entire class of female welders graduate from the program in a primarily male-dominated industry. Many of those women have already accepted full-time employment across the state.”
For more information about DCC or the DCC Educational Foundation, visit danville.edu.