Kirkwood Community College Earns Welding Accreditation

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (April, 29, 2014)–Kirkwood Community College is the first community college in Iowa to become an American Welding Society Accredited Test Facility for certifying welders.

Kirkwood became an Accredited Test Facility (ATF) in March of 2014 after a yearlong process of procuring equipment, writing a Quality Plan and developing associated documentation that concluded with a two-day audit. Kirkwood is the first community college in the state to get an ATF authorized and up and running, and is now serving as a mentor to other community colleges and assisting them in becoming operational. ATFs play an integral part in the operation of the American Welding Society Certified Welding program and have proven they have the necessary resources to test welders to this nationally recognized and accepted program. This rigorous program establishes minimum requirements for test facilities, their personnel and equipment to qualify for accreditation to test and qualify welders.

“Obtaining this ATF status provides our students with stackable credentials that are recognized throughout the world and provides area employers the opportunity to comply with contracts that require certified welders,” said Jeff Mitchell, Dean of Industrial Technologies at Kirkwood Community College.

Kirkwood has been offering welder qualifications since 1979. In becoming an ATF, Kirkwood can now provide students with stackable credentials to help build and grow their portfolios. Being an ATF offers a wide array of welding related services, including welder training, welder qualification and certification, and development of welding procedures for business and industry. This asset will not only be used by our students, but also by regional employers when they need to get their incumbent workers certified, as many contracts require this certification from AWS (American Welding Society).

Funding for the certification was available through the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing (I-AM) grant, which is a statewide consortium. Kirkwood, along with seven other Iowa community colleges committed to becoming an AWS Accredited Test Facility to support community college students obtaining these nationally recognized credentials to assist with their competitiveness in the job market.

“Kirkwood Community College has become very serious about the integration of industry based credentials into our certificate and academic programs,” said Kim Becicka, Ph.D., Vice President of Continuing Education and Training Services. “The opening of the AWS Accredited Test Facility is another step to providing regional employers with qualified workers as well as assisting incumbent workers garner and additional certifications.”

In addition to the newly available ATF services, there are various other welding training opportunities available. Welder certifications for individuals and industry, one-year diploma and two-year Associate in Applied Science Welding degree through Kirkwood’s industrial technology program. Kirkwood Training and Outreach Services offers customized company-training initiatives, including welder training and certificates. Short-term continuing education training opportunities, including welder certifications are also available through continuing education.

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