UBTech Takes Welding Education to the Next Level With Miller | MillerWelds

UBTech Takes Welding Education to the Next Level With Miller

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Learn how one Utah college built a successful welding program by working closely with partners like Miller.
Young student practices welding with virtual AugmentedArc system
Close up of AugmentedArc system in use

Top-notch welding program

With student success and program growth in mind, Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech) opened its latest state-of the-art welding facility in 2019. A vision for a revolutionary welding facility with new, high-quality equipment began back in 2016, and the state legislature was able to make it a dream come true in 2019. 

Aaron Weight, UBTech president and CEO, added proudly, “We have the best welding program in the nation and have the students to prove it. This is our eighth consecutive year of having a UBTech welding student being named the SkillsUSA State Champion. The 2021 SkillsUSA state winner went on to finish third in the national competition. It’s phenomenal.”   

Focus on recruitment 

To help fulfill the labor shortage and aid the welding industry, students of all ages need to explore career options, be introduced to welding and understand that welding can be a successful career path. 

Stephanie Carter, vice president of Public Affairs and Student Advancement at UBTech, organizes tours with potential students and with some of the younger demographics, including middle school and junior high, especially fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. During the tour, college recruiters expose them to welding without worrying about safety issues and offer a fun experience by having the students use the Miller AugmentedArc® training system, an augmented reality welding simulator that teaches the basics about proper welding technique.

By using AugmentedArc, not only do students get a feel for welding, but it allows UBTech to save tremendously on consumables. On average, using a blend of AugmentedArc and traditional welding training, instructors save up to 60% on consumables and see a reduction of up to 70% in training time.

“The process and skill set have changed the learning experience for our students. They become acquainted on the process before they actually work on the metal. It’s elevated to a whole new arena,” says Weight. 

“More and more students have been finding out about our welding program, and students are moving to this small town to take advantage of this opportunity and to set them up for a successful career,” says Carter. 

“We're seeing an increase in students starting to follow the welding pathway, and I would attribute that to the fact that the way that it looks and feels now is far different than the look and feel from six years ago. It's a cleaner environment, new and modern, brand-new equipment that’s easy to operate, and it’s digital.”

Strength in partners

Many technical colleges offer welding programs, but it’s the strong partnerships that make UBTech’s welding program different than the rest. The program has developed tremendously over the years with UBTech seeing a significant increase in both enrollment and graduation rates. UBTech attributes its success to not only the amazing instructors and staff, but also the high-quality Miller equipment that is purchased through local distributor, Norco. Scott Weaver, NorTECH Automation and Product specialist, stated, “We’re privileged to work with Miller and UBTech. It’s great to see the program developing and continuing to grow.” 

The students are geared up with Miller personal protective equipment including helmets, jackets, gloves, and safety glasses along with various Miller machines — XMT® 350, Invision™ 352 MPa, AlumaFeed® 350 MPa, Dynasty® 210 and 280, Multimatic® 215, Millermatic® 350P and ArcReach® solutions. UBTech also has state-of-the-art fume extraction equipment using FILTAIR® centralized systems throughout the facility to reduce fume exposure and increase air quality. “The experience is far greater, the equipment is superior,” stated Weight.

Fully prepared for an industry experience, students have a seamless transition when entering the workforce. Weight states, “You can take a UBTech graduate, and you're getting a highly qualified and highly trained welder. You can plug them into any welding application and they will be successful. They will add value to a good organization and that is because of the instructors, equipment and the supply chain behind it. Our students have a top-tier experience with the best equipment that there is. They become invested in the brand.”

Steve Hidden, Miller Training Solutions Business Development manager, adds “It’s the perfect partnership. We need to influence the next generation and realize we can’t do it alone. It’s a partnership that reaches many communities and is a shared success.” 

With a focus on student experience, development and achievement, UBTech is determined to not only grow the welding workforce but pave a successful pathway for its students. With a shared vision, Miller, Norco and UBTech serves their communities and are dedicated to helping the welding industry thrive.