By Carly Thompson
Editor in Chief

Hutchinson Community College’s welding program will be extending its classes to the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. 

The goal is to have approximately 30 students in the program. Student numbers are important to see the program succeed, however, Greg Siepert, Welding Technology Professor and Coordinator, looks forward to giving inmates the opportunity to learn. 

Throughout the learning curve of this endeavor, Siepert has seen the percentage of the people who will re-enter our community.

“Ultimately, giving a student the ability to have a skill, the ability to find employment when they get out,” Siepert said. 

The goal is to help prevent recidivism and give them a chance to succeed. The welding industry has a growing demand and is becoming more welcoming to people with varying backgrounds. 

The program will mirror the current welding curriculum at HutchCC. Students will have the same opportunities to take classes like they would at the college. They can choose the level of certification they want to achieve. Additionally, the option to take credits in multiple programs is available to them in order to get a wider variety of education. These options allow for a broad range of skills that they can utilize for different jobs when they get out. 

It has been an undertaking for those involved in getting the program up and running. There are a lot of unknown variables and questions that can be hard to answer because it is all so new. However, Siepert said that everyone involved has been supportive throughout the process. Both HutchCC and the Hutchinson Correctional Facility have been working together to figure out the best methods for all involved. 

“It’s encouraging to see that we can make an impact … talking to the future students and seeing their excitement for additional opportunities is fantastic,” Siepert said. 

While the program is still in its early stages, the hope is that the construction of the lab will be complete and operational by August.

Views: 174

Share this story: