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Funds for welding training center in budget

Jul. 03, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio -- A proposal to put a $1 million training center for welders at The Point, a South Point industrial park, has been included in the state's $61.7 billion budget, said State Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Gallipolis.

"A million dollars is coming to Lawrence County," Smith said. "That's always a good thing."

"We're really pleased they kept it in the budget," Scott Howard said Tuesday. Howard, who works for the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, came up with the idea of a portable training center to train welders. "They realize the need for welders."

"We're working with local businesses like Engines Inc. and McGinnis Inc. so that our programs are what they want," Howard said. "The money is in the Ohio Board of Regents budget. There's still quite a bit of work to do."

Details are being worked out as to when the center could be up and running, Howard said.

Carl Grover, owner of Engines Inc., has talked about the need for more trained welders in the Tri-State for years.

"I need welders right now," Grover said. "I could use 50 qualified people right now. I could do more jobs and take on more customers if I had the welders. This (training) program is the greatest thing in the world if it's done right. You will need qualified people to teach it."

"We'll be setting up a curriculum," Howard said. "We hope we can put entry-level people through it in six to nine months."

He cited the work of Smith, State Rep. Terry Johnson and State Sen. Bob Peterson in helping secure $2 million to establish the portable training centers in South Point and at Lorain County Community College as part of the Manufacturing Workforce Development Initiative.

The portable training centers will be made from large shipping containers and use advanced training equipment at the two sites. The centers could be moved to other areas of the Buckeye State in an effort to keep jobs in Ohio.

Lorain County Community College is the site of the headquarters for Welding Education and Training.

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