Gateway named AWS training and certification site | GCTC

Gateway named AWS training and certification site

Gateway Community & Technical College is named a training and certification site by the American Welding Society (AWS) expanding opportunities for Gateway welding students and potential employers.

Gateway's recognition as an AWS Schools Excelling through National Skills Education (SENSE) training program gives Gateway graduates a competitive edge in the job market and provides employers a pool of very desirable candidates.

"SENSE is a nationally recognized AWS certification designed by the top leaders in the industry, nationwide, ensuring welders are given standardized training to meet the needs of today's industry, said Will Donahue, Gateway Welding Instructor. Donahue trained for two years with the SENSE program at Whitney M. Young Job Corps in Simpsonville, Kentucky, for the U.S. Department of Labor.

A lot of our students have dreams of relocating to other parts of the country or may currently live in Ohio. Along with their college education, this welding certification will follow them wherever they choose to go. Gateway now provides students a pathway to nationally recognized credentials in the areas of welding they desire," added Donahue.

Will Donahue and Joseph MalloyGateway offers nationally recognized welding certifications in eight welding processes (SMAW, GMAW, GMAW-Spray, FCAW, FCAW-S, GTAW, GTAW Stainless, GTAW Aluminum), as well as training in welding blueprint, welding code and inspection, thermal cutting processes, and health and safety.

Students will be able to set their own pathway in training. The program is broken down into individual modules, allowing students to pursue a particular area of certification. For example, a student may want certifications in three processes, but not all eight. Upon successful completion, students will receive a certification plaque listing the area of welding being recognized and a prestigious, much sought after, AWS wallet card listing all of their nationally recognized SENSE Level 1 welding certifications. This card is a powerful tool when applying for work as a welder.

AWS certification is one of the best ways to advance a welding career, said Dee Wright, Gateway Dean of Manufacturing and Engineering. This opens up opportunities for increased wages, leadership roles and higher-level career challenges. This training also prepares students to continue their education beyond Gateway and become welding engineers and fabricators.

Students in the program understand the importance of this certification. Katelyn Bachmann has been interested in welding since she was a little girl working with family friend and nationally recognized artist Douwe Blumberg. She learned welding as art and plans to incorporate this into her career aspirations. For the more immediate future, she recognizes what this certification means to her job prospects. Ive got so many more opportunities with nationally recognized certifications, said Bachmann. I also really appreciate how our instructors personalize our learning experience.katelyn bachmann

Joseph Malloy, US Army veteran and Campbell County resident, will graduate from the program in 2016. At Gateway, Malloy says he has found focus and a career he loves that will provide for his family. He, too, understands the value of this certification in the high demand, high wage field of welding. He is particularly interested in construction welding.

Employers who are facing a shortage of employees with welding skills as baby boomers retire will also benefit from AWS certification at Gateway. Not only will they have a pipeline of potential employees, but once a welder receives AWS certification, she/he can maintain records (certification) without having to be continually trained and re-tested offering employers tremendous cost savings.

These are the types of programs Gateway wants to offer our community, said Dr. Keith Bird, Gateway interim president. Our mission is to serve students by offering industry recognized certifications and degrees in high demand, high wage fields where they can begin their career immediately and/or complete and transfer to a four-year institution to further their career development. We serve employers by training a well-qualified workforce.

For more information about Welding Technology at Gateway, contact Will Donahue at or go to the Gateway Welding Technology Program page on our website.