DURHAM, N.C. — The Biden administration say it plans to invest $45 million in grant programs for community colleges to promote job growth. The announcement came as Vice President Kamala Harris toured Durham Technical Community College on Wednesday.
One of Durham Tech's trade programs focuses on welding. The school says there are more than 1,000 welding job openings every year in our state.
Thats why instructor Ben Lock is committed to helping his students learn the trade.
"We give them the knowledge and the safety to understand it, apply it and pursue that if," Lock said. "Whether it's a do-it-yourself hobby or a career."
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Lock has been teaching at Durham Tech for six years and working in welding for three decades. He says this field is important as the Triangle's infrastructure continues to change.
"Welding has so many applications. It can be in construction, fabrication, building bridges, cars and repairs, as well," Lock said. "There are a lot of retiring welders, so there is opportunity there ... [and] there's a shortage in skilled trades."
Durham Tech's website says the starting salary for a welder in the Triangle is just over $31,000. The median salary is just under $40,000.
Durham Tech has programs for trade fields like plumbing, welding, HVAC and carpentry.
"There's reward in being able to do things yourself," Lock said. "I know a lot of students want to work with their hands and get out of the cubicle."