The heads of the Butler Community College administration and the Butler Welding program advisory board met on Monday evening to explore options in the future of the Butler Welding program.
“It is clear that there is a lot of passion for the welding program in this room, there is student demand for this program, there is employer demand. We hear that not only from the advisory board but from the governor’s office as well,” said Butler Vice President of Academics Karla Fisher.
Currently, the Butler Welding program has one course a semester that consists of 15 students headed up by professor Matt Galbraith.
The concern for the program has arisen over the past years as the welding program shares the same building with art, business and general studies classes and due to the close proximity the quality of air in the building has become a major subject.
“According to our facilities management, there is a need to move welding out of this building,” said Fisher.
The welding program up until last year offered a night course as well and that has been suspended until the future of the welding program is decided.
So with governmental regulations to air quality and the cramped spaces found in the current shop of the welding program, the advisory board and Butler administrators are exploring either to build a new facility or possibly lease a facility within the city limits of El Dorado.
“We want to be responsive to our community members, our stake holders and to the community that is going to employ our students. We need to find a solution to keep this program going because clearly there is a demand from the students and the industry, but Butler alone cannot do it by ourselves,” said Fisher.
The board is exploring the possibility of leasing a building to house the welding program which would allow for more students in a high demand sector of education.
Advisory board members concluded with setting another meeting in December to allow for the administrators and board to analyze and explore the ideas that were brought forward during the meeting.