Jurupa Unified School District unveiled a new welding program on Monday, Oct. 12, enrolling 26 students in its inaugural class at Nueva Vista High School. The JUSD program, a partnership with Riverside City College, offers college credit toward an undergraduate certificate in Welding Technology at RCC.
The partnership gives JUSD students an early toehold in a thriving industry – and is the only program of its kind in the region, said Nueva Vista welding instructor Jim Knieriem, a longtime teacher at RCC. The program is unique because it puts students “three to four steps ahead of the person who gets out of high school and takes a year to figure it out,” he said.
The welding industry – which faces a 400,000-welder shortage by 2024, per the American Welding Society – requires a range of highly skilled workers. Not only do welders build vehicles, pipes, bridges and skyscrapers, but they also work on lasers, robotics and other complex technologies in engineering, aerospace and other fields.
Nueva Vista’s program opens with 15 modern welding labs, built with funds from the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and JUSD’s Measure EE facilities bond approved by voters in 2014. The coursework will teach multiple welding processes, ideas, theories and metallurgy, Knieriem said, with the quarter’s coursework split between 27 hours of lecture and 81 hours of lab work and hands-on welding.
The latter is ideal for kinesthetic learners, said Nueva Vista Principal Michelle Markham, noting that four of the 26 students in the program are female. “It is an amazing opportunity to have something like this on campus,” Markham said.
Nueva Vista Continuation High School serves students who have fallen behind in completing high school credits and who, as a result, risk not graduating. The school helps students catch up on credits while upholding the rigorous California State Standards.
Jurupa Unified School District covers 47 square miles in Riverside County while serving more than 19,000 students on 25 campuses. The district balances the amenities of a large school district with the personal attention to students, parents and community typically found in smaller operations.
For more information, please contact Nueva Vista Principal Michelle Markham at (951) 360-2802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.