(From left): Andrew Hartman, of Eau Claire, and Ellsworth High School graduates Logan Kilness and Sam Thurmes are second year CVTC welding students. They attended a ribbon cutting in honor of CVTC’s new automated fabrication lab addition. Photo courtesy of CVTC
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Metal ribbon cutting displays new technology

EAU CLAIRE – Sunem Beaton-Garcia walked into the new welding fabrication lab at Chippewa Valley Technical College wearing a welding jacket and helmet.

Beaton-Garcia isn’t a welder. She’s the president of CVTC.

But that didn’t deter her from volunteering to laser cut the metal ribbon during the Manufacturing Education Center’s event to celebrate the new automated fabrication lab addition Tuesday.

The event was a way for the college to thank donors and taxpayers who voted to approve a 2020 referendum that led to the update in facilities and technology.

Second year CVTC welding students Sam Thurmes, Logan Kilness and Andrew Hartman attended the event and said they’re lucky to be at CVTC during this time, because no other college they know of has this kind of technology.

“It’s crazy,” said Hartman, 19, of Eau Claire. “This is a state-of-the-art facility. You aren’t going to go to any other college and find this kind of equipment.

“We’re presented with this super awesome opportunity that we couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Thurmes and Kilness, both Ellsworth High School graduates, said they’re not intimidated by the new equipment as much as excited.

“It’s exciting knowing I’ll be able to run these robot cells by the end of the semester,” Kilness said.

CVTC’s updated space and technology will provide training to upskill employees in alignment with industry trends towards automation, better foster the welding-fabricator apprenticeship program with area businesses and provide equipment access and technical assistance for employers to test new products and evaluate equipment to guide strategic business decisions among other endeavors.

“We’re teaching skills that will be utilized in the future,” said Jeff Sullivan, dean of apprenticeships, engineering, manufacturing and IT. “This innovative addition is bringing additional technology and skills to students and CVTC.”

Submitted by CVTC

November 3, 2021