News Room

San Diego College of Continuing Education

Office of Communications

San Diego College of Continuing Education Awarded $1.175 Million to Expand Award-Winning Welding Program

November 27, 2023

 Shielding Metal Arc Welding; Gas Metal and Flux Cored Arc Welding; Gas Tungsten Arc Welding and Pipe Welding. The 100,000 square foot welding facility is located at the Educational Cultural Complex (4343 Ocean View Blvd.) where students prepare for a career in the shipping and aerospace industries.San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE) has secured $1.175 million from a Texas-based nonprofit to double the size of its award-winning welding program and expand program facilities as part of a comprehensive effort addressing a shortage of skilled welders.

BlueForge Alliance, a nonprofit based in Bryan, Texas, focusing on increasing manufacturing capacity for Defense Department demands, is providing the grant to help meet Navy needs for more submarines. It describes itself as an agile program integrator positioned to meet the intense and urgent demand to build capacity for the defense industrial base.

SDCCE will be holding a news conference and check-presentation ceremony with BlueForge Alliance on Friday, December 8, at 9 a.m. at SDCCE’s Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean View Blvd. in San Diego (Please see further details below).

“This new funding will position our college to continue to expand our welding offerings and facilities right here in Southeastern San Diego,” said SDCCE President Dr. Tina M. King.

Welders in San Diego County are earning an average of $73,531 annually, according to the California Employment Development Department, which projects 42,600 job openings for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers each year, on average, over the decade.

“This generous grant will allow us to roughly double our current maximum capacity of 150 to 160 students per semester to up to 320 students per semester by hiring additional faculty and making substantial site improvements,” said Andrei Lucas, SDCCE Dean of Workforce Development, Automotive, Skilled & Technical Trades. “By investing in these areas, scores of additional students each year will have an opportunity to learn the skills needed to embark on a rewarding and well-paying career.”

Under its proposal, SDCCE estimated the expansion project could be completed within a year and would include $600,000 for additional welding booths, $225,000 for a ventilation upgrade, $200,000 to hire new faculty, and $150,000 for electrical upgrades. 

Funding will be issued by BlueForge Alliance on behalf of the Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base Directorate. The San Diego Community College District’s Board of Trustees approved the plan and formally accepted the grant at its October 19 meeting. 

The SDCCE welding program comprises four separate tracks. Progression from one course or program to the next is dependent on student attendance, knowledge of required course elements, and mastery of technical skills. Upon completion of 600s hours, students can receive a welding certificate from the American Welding Society. Various SDCCE Arc Welding certificates include Shielded Metal, Pipe, Gas Tungsten, Gas Metal, and Flux-Cored. The free welding classes take place in the Mountain View community of southeastern San Diego at the Education Cultural Complex, one of seven SDCCE campuses located from Barrio Logan to Mira Mesa.

Student demand is there, said Lucas. The Welding Department currently turns away countless students each semester for lack of space.

“Really, anybody is a great candidate for welding,” said welding instructor and program chair Bradley Dorschel. “We have an extremely diverse range of students who come here and leave with the skills necessary. It’s a really immersive experience, hands on, about six hours a day, and it’s all cost-free.”

News Conference Details

Who: SDCCE administrators and instructors and BlueForge Alliance

What: News Conference detailing plans for a $1.175 million for SDCCE

When: Friday, December 8, at 9 a.m.

Where: Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, 92113

Information: Brenna Leon Sandeford, (619) 388-4833 (office); (916) 753-9451 (mobile)


Brenna Leon Sandeford