When Greenville Technical College decided on a Liberty Bridge theme for this year’s entry in the city of Greenville’s Poinsettia Christmas Parade, a Welding Blueprint Reading class played a key role in getting the project completed.
The Blueprint Reading instructor, Saija Butters, divided the class into groups and had each group create a design. When one of the designs was selected by the parade committee, the class welded and painted a finished form for the float, which was then decorated by the students and committee.
“Greenville Technical College transforms lives through education, giving students skills that translate into successful careers,” said Committee Chair Kristin Chester, who works as a recruiter for the college. “Turning the parade float into a real-world learning project for our Welding students makes our float meaningful and demonstrates our role in delivering relevant education.”
With this year’s float a success, the plan is to collaborate with other programs and their students in the future, turning the effort once again into a learning experience.
“This is only our second participating in the parade,” said Terrance Shearn, Welding Department Head. “By involving our Welding students, we’ve elevated the design over last year’s entry and provided a challenging assignment that our students mastered. We’re already talking about next year.”
Welding graduates go to work for top companies across the Upstate, where their skills fill ready openings. Demand is strong, with only one new welder prepared to enter the workforce for every four who retire or leave the field. The General Assembly has appropriated $15 million to help the college solve the welding challenge in workforce development, with plans to create a 44,000-square-foot Center for Workforce Development with enhanced technology, expanded and inviting teaching and learning spaces, and increased welding stations.