At a Glance
Through a partnership with the local police department, welding students at Warren County Career Center (WCCC) gain relevant work experience as they complete several hands-on projects for the department.
The collaboration between the WCCC welding program and the City of Warren Police Department is a long-established tradition. Due to this strong partnership, welding students have completed several projects with and for the police department. For one project, students retrofitted a police car to accommodate a canine officer. The work had to meet specific requirements and be inspected by the state before the car could be used with the dog. In another project, students built an aluminum box to hold tools for the police and their Search and Rescue Snow Mobile trailer. Students also designed, built and modified a door breacher for the police to use. Some projects are small one-day jobs while others run longer; the longest project required four months to complete.
The partnership between the welding program and the police department began when the police department sought out assistance for a particular project. From that point on, the partnership grew, and welding students typically always are working on a project for the police. Members of the police force interact with the students as they work on the projects. The local community is made aware of the partnership through social media and the newspaper.
The WCCC welding program also has worked with several other local agencies including the city fire department and the local Special Olympics. In addition, students have completed projects for the sheriff department, the State Police and the Conewango Township Police Department.
At times, it is a challenge to make sure the welding students have access to the materials needed to complete the projects requested by various agencies, and more current lab equipment would make it easier for students to fabricate the projects. Even with such challenges, welding instructor Nate McNett plans to continue sustaining and building working relationships with community agencies. He finds that the work the welding students do through these partnerships is an excellent way to support and give back to the community.
For programs that may be interested in developing partnerships, Mr. McNett suggests that they be proactive and contact local law enforcement and fire departments to inquire about any possible projects with which they may need help. After one or two projects are completed, word will likely spread to other agencies and they may seek out a partnership as well.
Instructor McNett finds that the projects provide students a meaningful way to practice the skills needed to be successful on the NOCTI exam and on the job, and they also allow students to engage in ongoing community service.
Warren County Career Center
Nate McNett, Welding Instructor