CTC at Chariho receives state funding for EB training

CTC at Chariho receives state funding for EB training

Record-Journal
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Chariho Chariho Career and Technical Center Jill Connor / The Westerly Sun

WOOD RIVER JCT. — The Chariho Regional School District has received a $200,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Education to offer a new welding and shipfitting program at the Career and Technical Center.

CTC Director Susan Votto, who applied for the funding, said one of the existing classrooms would be renovated. “There’s accommodations being made in one of the classrooms to provide ventilation systems for the new welding booths,” she said. “There are four welding booths and a teacher’s station.”

Nearly 40 students in Grades 9 and 10 have already registered for the new program, which is part of the Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative, a state-industry partnership led by General Dynamics Electric Boat.

EB’s facility at Quonset Point in North Kingstown currently employs 3,500 workers, and the company is expected to hire more than 5,500 workers by the end of the 2020s. Certified welders will be in high demand.

Votto said the response to the new program, especially from ninth graders, had been so strong that the welding class will be divided into more manageable groups of about 20 students.

“We’re actually splitting it into two classrooms, because you can’t fit 20-plus students in one room,” she said. “We’re looking at maybe 10 and 12, depending on the numbers.”

Chariho Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci said students graduating from the program would be ready for well-paying careers with one of the fastest growing companies in the state.

“With Electric Boat growing in support of our military, serious students should have opportunities in the welding and related fields,” he said. “Our new program was developed with input from Electric Boat so that our students will be prepared for these workforce opportunities.”

Tom Spadoni, a former CTC construction teacher who became a certified welder last year, will teach the welding program.

“It’s exciting setting up a new program,” he said “It’s a lot of work, dealing with the vendors and trying to figure out which machines and pieces of equipment, which brand or manufacturer, we should be purchasing, but that’s all part of the challenge. That’s what makes it exciting. This will start my 20th year teaching, and it’s basically like starting all over again.”

In early July, Spadoni, along with instructors from career and technical centers in Cranston, Warwick, Coventry and Providence, will undergo additional training. “We will all be going through this intense training so we can be familiar with the Electric Boat processes and the Electric Boat standards,” he said.

The district is now going out to bid for the classroom renovation work and the equipment. The bids must be approved by the School Committee.

Ricci encouraged students to consider the new program.

“Supporting Electric Boat is a priority of the governor,” he said. “She is a strong advocate for matching training to projected workforce needs. Interested students in South County should take advantage of this great opportunity.”

There is still time to apply to the welding-shipfitting program. More information is available online at: http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/ctcapp

cdrummond@thewesterlysun.com


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