Duke Energy awards $249,850 to Gaston College

DALLAS – The Duke Energy Foundation awarded a $249,850 grant to Gaston College to buy welding equipment for the Pharr Trade and Industrial Center Building on the Dallas campus.
Built in 1972, the 44,000-square-foot center houses 16 lab stations for welding instruction. The limited space has made it difficult to provide advanced training required by local industries, small businesses and startup companies.
The grant from Duke Energy will more than double the capacity of the welding lab by adding 18 stations to be equipped with Miller 250 Dynasty DX package welders, an $85,000 CNC Plasma Cutter, and assorted other equipment such as air hoses, chipping hammers and MIG pliers.
“The manufacturing industry is still a major employer in Gaston and Lincoln counties, and workforce training and certification in welding is still in high demand,” said Patricia Skinner, president of the college. “We appreciate Duke Energy’s support to help us re-equip our welding labs so we can graduate many more highly qualified welders.”
Gaston College is renovating the Pharr Trade and Industrial building. The renovation is scheduled to be completed in February 2015.
The renovation is part of the college’s plan to expand its facilities that also includes the construction of a new center for advanced manufacturing slated to be completed in 2016. The new advanced manufacturing center will be located in the Gaston County Technology Park in Dallas.
“The need for welders is predicted to grow by 13 percent in Gaston and Lincoln counties this decade,” Skinner said. “Once completed, our welding labs will have the capacity to initially train 60 industry-qualified welders for good-paying jobs over the next 10 years.”
Duke Energy is proud to invest in a program that create job opportunity for the community, according to Tim Gause, region director for government and community relations for the company.
“Our partnership with Gaston College develops a highly skilled workforce that will attract and retain businesses in the region for years to come,” Gause said.

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