Jessamine Career and Technology Center receives grant for welding program

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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The Jessamine Career and Technology Center (JCTC) received a $46,402 grant from the Donaldson Company Inc. at this week’s Board of Education meeting.

This summer, JCTC Principal Christi Hack worked with several JCTC team members to apply for the Minnesota-based company’s grant to build up the school’s west campus welding lab.

“When we opened the JCTC west campus in 2020, we went for a multi-purpose lab space that would be used for many different things, including a dedicated, well-constructed lab space for welding. It’s got proper ventilation, it’s got electrical connections. The downside is there weren’t enough funds to purchase equipment to go in it,” Hack said.

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According to Hack, the school has sought out used equipment and refurbished some old equipment for the lab, but they still do not have all the equipment they need for students to be fully trained for their welding certifications.

“Right now, students who want to become certified welders must go to Fayette County. And we want to have a home for them in Jessamine County as well,” Hack said.

Before receiving this grant, JCTC could only teach basics through its agriculture mechanics pathway with the help of its welding instructor, Ashley Wagoner.

Because of the work of leading grant writer and work-based learning liaison Amanda Saha, advanced manufacturing instructor Tom Sofia, Wagoner, and Hack, the school will now be able to purchase a variety of new state-of-the-art welders.

The Donaldson Company, Inc. representative who presented the big check at the School Board meeting was Tim James, and he said this was one of the most well-written grants the corporation had ever seen.

“I heard lots of compliments about this grant, and we haven’t seen one this well done before, so hats off to you and the team,” James said.

“We’re so grateful for the investment that Donaldson’s made in our program, and we hope it can be a mutually beneficial relationship as we move forward.”

JCTC has not met with any sales representatives yet for the equipment, but Hack anticipates that students will be able to utilize these new tools by the second semester in spring.