Responding to industry needs: Teamwork in the LBCC Welding Program 

Years ago, local companies serving on an advisory board for the Welding Program asked Linn-Benton Community College to teach its welding students how to work in teams. In response to this industry need, LBCC added teamwork skills classes and the co-curricular component of the Welding Program was developed. 
A co-curricular program gives students the opportunity to do real-world, hands-on projects while pursuing their education. The Industrial Technology Society (ITS) co-curricular program is for students in the Welding Technology & Industrial Pipe Trades Programs. ITS has a board of elected officers – all students – comprising a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and two section representatives. This elected body takes suggestions from their peers and then works with the faculty to decide which projects the team will take on each term. 
“All students are highly encouraged to bring their creative ideas,” said Michael Brown, welding instructor and ITS faculty advisor. “The board takes those suggestions and then draws insight from us faculty, whose broader industry experience lends valuable insight, to make the final decision on the projects.” 
The students sell their projects throughout the year to raise money for their welding certification costs but also to purchase new equipment for the program. For Valentine’s Day, the students created metal roses via their Facebook page. The dollars add up. “The sale of past student projects partially funded our new CNC plasma cutting table,” said Brown.
At other times, the work is donated to a good cause. ITS has built several “buddy benches” for the Corvallis School District, in partnership with the Sunrise Kiwanis Club. This past winter, the ITS donated two custom metal fire rings to the LBCC Foundation for attendees to bid on at the annual gala. That project raised $1,800 for LBCC programs and student scholarships. 
Co-curricular opportunities at LBCC provide students with practical experience working on real projects. In the case of the ITS, that includes teamwork to better prepare students for future careers here in the Willamette Valley and throughout the state.