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VTC uses workforce grants for hands-on learning - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

VTC uses workforce grants for hands-on learning

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RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. -

Six new welding machines are getting good use at Vermont Technical College. Mechanical engineering students are using them to build their final project.

"I just love building stuff, creating stuff with my hands. Something someone is going to use like our client and this log trailer," student Nathan Brouillette said.

The money to buy the machines came from a $3.4 million grant through the Department of Labor for workforce education.

Students say the new equipment was needed.

"It was definitely kind of getting outdated," student John Turner said. "It's nice to be able to have something new. You are not working on the equipment more than you are working on your project."

Projects that farmers say are essential when it comes to the future of agriculture.

"I ask them, you know, 'What kind of extra skills do you want?' And they say two things: can they breed cows and can they weld," said Chris Dutton of VTC.

Welding is just one of several short courses being offered at VTC through the Institute of Applied Agriculture and Food Systems.

"A series of short courses beginning in June and ending in December ranging from cheesemaking to welding to tractor equipment repair to CDL to yogurt to beef production," Dutton said.

Students who attend VTC say it's just the kind of learning they respond to.

"All your classes and everything is hands-on," Brouillette said. "You get a chance to work in the shop and build stuff that someone is actually going to use. So, it makes a lot more sense to the learning education process."

And while these students may not become farmers, they say they can take the skills with them in whatever field they pursue.

"I like welding," Turner said. "It is something that I do a lot of at home and at school, but I would like to get into the manufacturing field."

Whether it's manufacturing or fixing a manure spread, the skills are the same.

"If you can weld a dirty manure spreader, you can weld anything," Dutton said.

The classes will be available for those planning to attend VTC and as continuing education courses for the public. Click here for more information.

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