Quirk-Silva Funds Career Technical Education for Fullerton College

Friday, October 5, 2018

FULLERTON –Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) has successfully secured $1 million in funding from the 2018-19 State Budget for the Fullerton College welding program. The investment from the State, by Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva, will allow Fullerton College to better equip students with the skills needed to meet the growing needs of industry. This funding allocation is part of varied and continuous efforts from Quirk-Silva to bring state money back into Orange County.

“This funding represents a critical investment in Orange County, and California’s future workforce and economy,” said Quirk-Silva. “American manufacturing is the bedrock of our economy, and students with the technical skills learned in this department will find a wide variety of manufacturing opportunities, and technical positions in today’s job market.”

“This funding support for our welding and manufacturing programs will allow Fullerton College to be more responsive to the significant demand for certified welders, welding inspectors, and manufacturing technicians in Orange County and beyond,” said Fullerton College President Dr. Greg Schulz. “We are so grateful for this support and the doors it will help us open for students. These funds will help us serve a greater number of women, minorities, veterans, unemployed and underemployed individuals.”

The funds will be used for a variety of upgraded equipment for the students of Fullerton College, such as welding machines capable of welding materials found in aerospace and national defense projects.  Fullerton College also plans to purchase new fabrication and cutting equipment, so the students are able to do more complex structural weldments. The college will be adding robotic technology, as well.  Manufacturing is increasingly adopting welding robots and technicians in automation, and this will keep North Orange County up-to-date with technology used in manufacturing around the globe. 

The funding will also facilitate upgrades to department facilities. Welding inspection instruction, and lab spaces, will be installed to teach inspection processes and skills. The welding technology department will further their outreach to veterans and encourage them to continue in new training programs, like Fullerton College's Helmets to Hardhats program that leads to great jobs in the manufacturing workforce. Furthermore, the College has been in talks with Chip Foose and Mitch Lanzini, from the TLC Network show Overhaulin' to help the department build a functional welding vehicle, to bring welding education to area schools and businesses.

To congratulate Fullerton College for this recognition on the importance of their technological education program, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva visited the department to engage with students and faculty. She reiterated the importance of the workforce training programs at the college, and thanked them for the positive impact they make in Orange County’s economy and job market during National Manufacturing Week (the first week of October).

Background: Orange County celebrates National Manufacturing Week with a number of events around the county aimed at inspiring the next generation of manufacturers (more information here).  The region is a manufacturing leader with over 3,000 manufacturers in Northern Orange County alone. As a whole, California's manufacturing sector employs more than 1.3 million workers and includes industries such as aerospace, consumer goods, food processing, paper, and information technology (IT).  As Chair of Assembly Jobs Committee, and an Orange County representative, Quirk-Silva has worked with educators, workforce partners, and manufacturers to address the middle skill job shortage, and previously had convened a field committee hearing at Buena Park High School in Orange County, to discuss how to educate and train the next generation of skilled industrial employees.