Welders can't seem to get their hands off oftools and machinery.
"Yeah, I like to work with myhands," Black Hawk College student Steve Scobee said.
Next year, Black Hawk College students willhave access to a new center that staff say will strengthen their skills.
"We already got new machines, but thesemachines are going to be bigger," student Jason Knight said. "There'ssome things machines can't do, and you need a welder that can perform just asgood or better than the machine."
"I'm excited about it," Scobeesaid. "Hopefully, I'll be an alumni and come back and visit, andparticipate in that kind of stuff. It'd be neat."
The new, 15,000-square-foot facility willhave three labs, one of which is virtual. Students say that's not bad,especially compared to their current facility in town.
"It's a basic old welding shop. I mean,it's dusty, a little dingy, but we make due with what we got," Scobeesaid.
The college's East Campus vice president,Chanda Dowell, says there was need for change.
"Over the past several years, ourwelding enrollments have grown substantially, and we basically have completelyoutgrown our current facility," she said.
Dowell says they're building the center witha regional focus in mind, not only to attract students, but also to develop thelocal welding industry.
"Our end goal is to create skilledwelders that are employable, and where they choose to be employed is really apersonal choice," Dowell said.
However, Scobee says he wouldn't mind stayingright here, in Kewanee.
"IfI could get a decent job somewhere around here when I'm done with school, yeah,I'd consider sticking around for a while," he said.