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College welding program builds community bus shelter for Grand Valley Transit

Just before WCCC student Mark Beville received a certificate in welding during the recent CMU commencement, he completed the semester by investing in a community service project that put his new skills to the test. The project included fabricating, moving and installing an enhanced bus stop facility for Grand Valley Transit (GVT). GVT is the Grand Valley's public transportation provider — a collaboration between the City of Grand Junction, the City of Fruita, Mesa County and the Town of Palisade. 

Beville and his classmates are the latest example of WCCC using the campus’s close community relationships to blends hands-on learning and workforce training while addressing community needs. 

“This project was a great way to round out the semester as we were able to put our certificate skills to work right off the bat,” said Beville. “The project was a fun way to finish up and help out the community.” 

Beville is an example of a WCCC student who already has experience, but chose a WCCC program that could supplement the skills he already has in order to expand future opportunities.   

WCCC instructors believe making skills training practical and relevant to the type of projects and work students are training for is key. The WCCC/GVT project is an example of efforts to accomplish these educational goals. 

“This project was top-to-bottom a student driven effort from design to installation,” said WCCC Technical Welding Instructor Bill Campbell. “Installing the new bus stops help meet the mission of WCCC by allowing students to get direct experience working on a project that sharpens their trade skills while benefiting the community.” 

While the project spanned a number of semesters, the recent installation team included participation from WCCC students Seth Haynes, Brandon Frederick, Mark Beville, Hannah Heinrich and Project Foreman Glwen Phillips. Phillips began work on the project design in fall of 2017. 

Students originally designed the structures in the WCCC campus welding facility. After GVT poured the concrete support pads, the welding students transported the pre-assembled shelters and installed them for public use. 

“WCCC welding students demonstrated how a real-life application of their skills can contribute to partnerships that are helping create transportation infrastructure that makes the valley better,” said CMU President Tim Foster. WCCC is a division of Colorado Mesa University.

Brigitte Sundermann, Vice President of Community College Affairs, said projects like the enhanced bus stops are reflective of the values and approach taken to workforce development at WCCC. 

“Nearly all of the programs at WCCC reach into the community in a direct, ground-level kind of way,” said Sundermann. “Our technical training faculty in the welding program provided an opportunity for students to showcase skills in a way that added a small but meaningful piece of infrastructure. Years from now, these structures will still serve the community and it all started with students.” 

Community members interested in the WCCC welding program are encouraged to email wcampbell@coloradomesa.edu. The CMU Montrose Campus also expanded welding program offerings to include evening courses for working adults. 

 

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Written by David Ludlam