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CMCC includes welding in the free training program

Forrest Stone, welding coordinator for Central Maine Community College, poses with a MIG welder on the Auburn campus Monday. The college offers welding for the first time through the Workforce and Professional Development Center. Andrée Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Central Maine Community College has added a welding academy to the growing list of skills and training offered by the Center for Workforce and Professional Development.

The course consists of three consecutive weeks, 40 hours of hands-on training each week by an industry expert. Upon successful completion of the course, students will earn a basic welding certification which will qualify them for an entry level position where they can expect to earn $40,000 per year or more to start.

Funding for the program comes from the US federal Rescue Plan Act. The course is open to those who are dislocated, unemployed or underemployed or whose employment has been affected by COVID-19. Students must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Maine at the end of the program, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be a US citizen or have permission to work here.

Forrest Stone is the new welding coordinator at the college. The Maine artist and metal fabricator who also produced stainless steel components for the Blue Origin space rocket, sanitary stainless steel welding for New England breweries, Bissell Brothers brewers, manufacture of metal 3D printing chambers for Desktop Metals of Massachusetts, used in the production of the electric Ford F-150.

The welding room is an addition to the precision machine shop currently under construction. Classroom instruction includes safety training, the use of tools and equipment, how to make different welds, and how to test the strength of those welds.

Dwayne Conway is the Dean of Workforce Development at the CMCC.

“As you know, there’s an abundance of work out there, so employers are definitely hiring, so graduates will have plenty of options,” he said.

The National Association of Manufacturers reports that the number of open manufacturing jobs has more than doubled since before the pandemic and that employers everywhere are struggling to find qualified candidates.

Conway said he hopes the school will be able to offer more advanced welding courses in the future. The funding is there for the next 18 months or so, he said.

There are 24 free training courses offered, ranging from business skills to health care, information technology and surveying at the CMCC’s Labor and Professional Development Center.

Welding classes are tentatively set for August 15, with a limit of 20 students per class. A new group will be formed every three weeks.

Rregister online at, or contact the Center for Workforce and Professional Development if you need more information at 207-755-5280.

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