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SCC Industrial Maintenance Students Save College's Welding Program Thousands in Repairs

students standing by a welding machineThe Welding Program at Somerset Community College was recently faced with a challenging situation: five of their welding machines, necessary tools for students to learn how to weld, were down. Unfortunately, the program’s budget did not allow for the machines to be sent off for repair. In addition, the time it would take to send the machines off would seriously impact student learning hours.

Welding program director Karl Watson decided to approach the situation differently than before. Instead of shipping the machines off to be fixed, he turned to his students, namely those also in SCC’s Industrial Maintenance Technology program, for help. Two students, Patrick Reagin, of Columbia, and William Rigney, of Monticello, stepped up to the challenge.

“We used a process of elimination to identify each problem,” said Reagin, age 27.

Rigney said the welders, which are used to join two pieces of metal together, each had different issues. One was most complicated, he said, but by being persistent and breaking down each part piece-by-piece, they discovered the control board was bad. In total, Reagin and Rigney fixed four out of five machines, saving the program nearly $4,000, said Watson.

“Machine repairs were simply not in the budget,” said Watson. “These students certainly saved me money and, most importantly, kept me from losing an estimated 30 days of teaching time on these machines.”

Rigney graduated from the Industrial Maintenance Technology program at SCC in May, 2017. He wanted to learn more about welding, though, so he returned to SCC. He currently works at American Woodmark. Reagin is a current Industrial Maintenance Technology student. He will graduate in May, 2018.

To find out more about these programs, contact their coordinators:

Welding: Karl Watson,

Industrial Maintenance Technology: Nick Tomlinson,