UA representatives present an apprenticeship agreement and banner to Rose Jones, Associate Dean of Workforce Development, and Lin Liles, NWSCC welding instructor, as they are surrounded by welding students.

Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) welding students’ path to journeymen certification got a little bit easier Tuesday through an articulation agreement with the United Association’s (UA) apprenticeship program.

The agreement with the UA of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Technicians is a tremendous development for welding students who have completed their associate degree requirements. It gives them the ability to obtain credit towards the apprenticeship and could save them over a year off the five year program.

“Partnerships and agreements like this are a win-win for our students and industry,” said NWSCC President Dr. Humphrey Lee. “We are always looking for ways to give our students a competitive edge once they graduate and this apprenticeship program can definitely do that.”  

According to Lance Albin, UA international representative, the articulation agreement gives NWSCC welding graduates preference into the UA apprenticeship program. This leads to a journeymen certificate and can take as much as one to two years off the apprenticeship length depending on the NWSCC graduate’s earned certificates and work experience. The United Association consists of over 340,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.

NWSCC welding instructor, Lin Liles, says the concept of UA accepting credit earned while at NWSCC toward the apprenticeship program has been in the works for a couple of years. “It’s really great to see our students have a direct path toward the apprenticeship program they offer at UA,” said Liles. “If our students really focus and work hard at improving their skills, they have a perfect opportunity to really separate themselves from other welders with this apprenticeship program.”

The welding program at NWSCC offers classes on the Phil Campbell and Shoals campuses. For more information on the program, contact Lin Liles on the Shoals campus at 256.331.5254 or Brian Keeton on the Phil Campbell campus at 256.331.6389.