Wilkes Community College held a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Blan Bottomley Welding Lab on Wednesday, June 23. The new 1,020 square foot, state-of-the-art facility, located adjacent to the WCC Alleghany Center campus, can accommodate 10 students per class and contains five welding booths, an ironworker, MIG, TIG and Stick welders, hand tools, safety equipment, worktable with vice, band saw, installed air compressor with retractable hoses, outdoor secured gas storage, a tool crib and much more.

WCC President, Dr. Jeff Cox stated, “This project is in direct alignment with the vision of Wilkes Community College’s 5-Year strategic plan – More students in our service area with credentials that support workforce needs and provide a family-sustaining income.”

The expansion of the welding program will increase student skills and prepare them to be eligible for industry certifications and Wilkes Community College credentials. These certifications and credentials will increase the employability of our students, allowing them to secure gainful employment. In turn, they become self-sustaining community members who can obtain skills locally. “We are excited to offer the welding technology program to our county,” stated WCC Alleghany Center Director, Susan Nilo. We are currently holding curriculum and continuing education courses for the summer 2021 semester and have had considerable interest in the program for the upcoming year. We are looking forward to the growth of this program in the future.”

“We are proud to support this much-needed program,” stated Martha Bottomley, owner of Bottomley Evergreens. “The addition of a welding program at the Alleghany Center will provide the skilled workforce we need, provide ongoing workforce training for our employees, and will directly allow us to fill jobs.”

“The college’s investment in our new welding lab is an important addition to the educational opportunities available to students here in Alleghany County. Strong business demand for welders makes this program an ideal opportunity to create great careers with excellent earnings potential. I’d like to thank the college, the Bottomley family and all others that came together to make this a reality,” stated Ricky Brown, WCC Board of Trustees.

Allison Phillips, Executive Director of WCC Foundation, in her closing remarks thanked all donors and Alleghany County for making this project possible.

Mr. Terry Bumgarner, Chairman of the WCC Board of Trustees, dedicated the Blan Bottomley Welding Lab in memory of Blan Bottomley.  Mr. Arnold Lakey, WCC Foundation Board president and Martha Bottomley cut the ribbon to officially open the facility.