Cokeville High School cut the ribbon on a brand-new, state of the art welding lab on September 23, 2019. CHS had been chosen out of thousands of schools across the nation to partner in the Airgas High School Education Initiative.
“This is a great addition to our shop program,” said Brian Toomer, CHS Principal. “It provides updated equipment that exposes our kids to a wide range of skills for their next level in life.”
A press release from Airgas stated that the project is part of an ongoing initiative where Airgas is partnering with welding education programs to provide recurring material donations and educational support. CHS was selected as one of 12 new high school project partners for the 2018-2019 school year.
Airgas teams across the country nominated local high schools that were in need of and prepared to receive substantial private support, where Airgas experts could visit schools regularly throughout the school year to work alongside teachers and students and lend necessary support over the coming years in a collective effort to provide comprehensive welding training programs and prepare students for successful careers in the welding industry.
Airgas donated a plasma cutter, new welders and angle grinders as well as welding helmets and gloves. The newly renovated welding lab features modern welding equipment that will support the welding instruction and technology education at the school.
Training events for teachers and students will also be part of the initiative. Training’s will be held in the new lab and offsite at Lincoln and Miller welding schools in Utah. A safety specialist will train in welding safety and a Welding Engineer will provide extra instruction on advanced welding techniques. Multiple vendors can also help enhance the curriculum or provide more information on processes.
Training trips to Utah will also include tours of different Airgas customers locations. This will give the students exposure to different career paths associated with Welding.
“While the welding industry is currently facing a shortage of skilled labor and STEM graduates, the field of welding is also undergoing a rapid transformation and evolution in manufacturing technologies,” Airgas Communication Representative Kimberly Menard stated. “There are more jobs than welders, and many of the jobs now require advanced skill sets to program and operate new robotic and automated cutting systems. Studies show that by 2025, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to a skills gap.”
The school’s new lab is quite an asset for all of Southwest Wyoming.
“We’re very excited and fortunate to be able to share this opportunity with Cokeville High School and the community,” said Jared Bowcutt, Airgas District Manager for Western Wyoming. “It is a neat opportunity to be able to show our younger generation the different avenues and careers that they can enjoy in the future from an education in welding.”