Albany Tech prepares to help MCLB troops -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Tech prepares to help MCLB troops

February 22, 2007

Albany - - Albany Technical College is taking one of its programs outside of campus and offering it to help our troops. The college is hiring extra staff and purchasing new equipment to teach a course for technicians at MCLB.

The college offers a variety of welding programs for adults taking up the craft. About three weeks ago, administrators got an urgent request.

"We just needed to train about 175 people who work at MCLB in a hurry," says college President Dr. Anthony Parker.

Parker says the base wants to take advantage of the school's MIG welding program.

"The MIG program was useful to the MCLB maintenance center because it gives some of their operators an additional skill, enhanced skills that help them do a better job or a different job in working with some of the vehicles that come into the center."

He says the marine crops is repairing and servicing its entire fleet of armored plated vehicles going to and from Iraq.

"We wouldn't be able to train them fast enough with the equipment we currently have."

Parker realized the need and quickly agreed. So the college purchased 20 additional welding machines that should arrive any day now.

He's also hiring additional staff to help teach the course since the college currently only has a couple full time welding instructors. The troops will be able to come on campus and instructors will travel directly to them on base.

"We're used to responding quickly to industry needs."

They're still working out all of the details, but the college knew this was a task they had to accept.

"This is a defense priority and we want to do our part for the marine corp."

To help those serving on the front lines. Dr. Parker says troops taking part in the program will receive certification in welding. The course begins March 1st.

MCLB didn't want to comment on the partnership until its contract with Albany Tech is finalized.