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Emerging Practices with Promise

Submitted By: Bonita Steele, Kern Community College District

College, high school collaborate to meet welding labor-market demand

The Challenge

The Kern County labor market had a high demand for welders and paid a wage differential in this area, but members of the Kern Community College District Consortium faced challenges in expanding their welding programs to meet industry need. The main Bakersfield College campus didn’t have space to expand its welding certification program. The Bakersfield College Delano Center didn’t have space to establish a full welding lab, and the Delano Joint Union High School District’s welding program was under-resourced, with an insufficient number of welding stations to serve a full high school class. This challenge rose to the top among consortium members during the Assembly Bill 86 planning process, with the Bakersfield College Delano Center and the Delano Joint Union High School District identifying it as a high-priority need.

The Solution

To address the challenge, consortium members worked together to establish a welding lab that had the capacity and the equipment to serve a full high school/college class, co-located at Delano High School, and that was available to high school students during the day and adult education students in the evening. The main Bakersfield College campus donated equipment to the project to establish 10 welding booths, 19 welders and ancillary equipment, including air filtration systems, and consumable gases and rods.

High school students are able to take two courses (Welding B1A and B1B) to earn dual high school and college credit. The remaining four welding certificate courses can be completed in a year and also are available at the Delano High School location.


By working together to establish a joint learning space, members of the consortium have been able to increase the number of students who have successfully completed welding courses and earned college credit, putting them on the path to certification and entry into the welding field. The lab has been in operation for five semesters.

The Data

To date, an estimated 150 adult students have successfully completed welding courses and earned college credit.

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