workforce preparation

Pennsylvania College of Technology Celebrates Welding Lab Expansion

WILLIAMSPORT, PA – An expanded and enhanced welding lab — at 55,000-plus square feet, believed to be the largest such facility in higher education nationwide — was recently dedicated at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Welding Expansion Project, funded in part by a $2-million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, added 35,000 square feet of instructional space to the lab in the college’s Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center, allowing for enrollment of up to 60 more welding students annually — more than 300 in total.

The facility houses what is also believed to be the only electron beam welder being used for instruction in U.S. higher education. Electron beam welding — a fusion welding process in which a high-velocity electron beam is used to join two metals together — is a cutting-edge technology popular in the aerospace, automotive, defense, semiconductor, medical, nuclear, oil and gas and power generation industries.

“Today is a celebration of the very best of collaboration and the impact it has in our world,” said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour at the facility’s opening. “We stand together in a state-of-the-art lab. Next door to the EB welder are advanced processes in laser welding and cutting. We have CNC plasma cutters, a full lab of automation and robotics, a room dedicated to specialized welding, and a nondestructive-testing classroom and lab that will take us to the next level in curriculum offerings. We have 18,000 square feet of space dedicated to metal fabrication and we have Pipe Alley, offering pipeline simulation, as well as 124 individual lab booths for welders to weld.

“Your support has ignited a spark that will continue to burn brightly for generations to come,” Gilmour added, as she spoke to project supporters who gathered in the lab for the event.

Welding and metal fabrication is the third-largest program area on the Penn College campus, enrolling more than 300 students who benefit from, at minimum, 144 hours of hands-on welding as they hone skills that are in high demand in the workforce. Job placement for Penn College’s welding students is nearly 100 percent. The college offers a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology, an associate degree in metal fabrication technology, an associate degree in welding technology and a certificate in welding.

For more about welding and metal fabrication at Penn College, visit

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit, email [email protected] or call 800/367-9222.