KACC

A Kankakee Area Career Center student works on a welding project. The center has been awarded a $25,000 Welding Workforce grant through the American Welding Society’s 2020 Welding Workforce Grant.

KANKAKEE — The Kankakee Area Career Center has been awarded a $25,000 Welding Workforce grant through the American Welding Society’s 2020 Welding Workforce Grant.

KACC has a long history of working with AWS and incorporates AWS S.E.N.S.E. Training into its curriculum, according to a press release.

Knowing how that the AWS Foundation aims to build the welding workforce by providing grant funding to secondary and post-secondary welder training facilities, KACC welding instructor Michael Gall and his teacher assistant, Terry Erickson, have applied for this grant the past few years. This year, KACC’ proposed plan was selected. The grant will allow for facility upgrades which will increase the number of students they’re able to serve and enhance the level of training they receive, according to a press release.

Gall said he applied for the grant because of the growing number of students enrolling in welding courses each year.

“The incredible amount of interest [in welding] is holding steady, creating more urgency in our need for newer, more reliable equipment,” he said. “Suffice it to say, our welding program has grown exponentially more than our budget, pushing us to look outward for financial assistance.”

KACC was one of nine programs to be awarded up to $25,000 to improve the quality and training capacity of their welding programs to support the needs of local industries.

Since 2017, more than $1 million in Welding Workforce Grants have been awarded, according to a press release.