College Hosts Inaugural NYS Steel Fabricators Association Welding Competition

October 31, 2023

On Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, Hudson Valley Community College hosted the inaugural Annual New York State Steel Fabricators Association (NYSSFA) Welding Competition. Students enrolled in the Welding and Fabrication AOS degree program at the college competed in timed hands-on and virtual welding activities in the Lang Technical Building and the Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills.

Welding Student Winners with event sponsor and staff
John Parucki, executive director of NYSSFA; Joseph Dana, department chair of Engineering, Architecture and Manufacturing; Sean Mendez, welding instructor; 1st place winner Zyonia Smith; 2nd place winner Zach Hilt; 3rd place winner Wilfred Wright

Professional judges evaluated students’ welds, and prizes were awarded to the top three performers. The three student winners, all enrolled in the Welding and Fabrication AOS degree program, were: Zyonia Smith (first place); Zach Hilt (second place); and Wilfred Wright (third place).

In addition, students enrolled in non-credit welding and fabrication coursework also had a chance to test their skills. The three winners were: Benjamin Shafer (first place); Jason Varghese (second place); and Kiri Roberts (third place). All participants and guests had the opportunity to network with members of the American Welding Society (AWS) Northern New York Section, New York State Steel Fabricators Association (NYSSFA) and local industry partners; and also, to utilize virtual reality welding training simulators, watch demonstrations and take tours of the college’s welding and CNC machine labs.

Launched in 2021, the Welding and Fabrication AOS degree program at Hudson Valley, offered by the Engineering, Architecture and Manufacturing Department, prepares students for careers in welding with a focus on metal fabrications. Students acquire a broad base of knowledge in fabrication and welding, along with instruction in areas like computer-aided drafting, metrology and metallurgy.

The college’s Welding and Fabrication AOS degree program aims to meet the regional workforce demand and support the state’s historic investment in renewable energy. The need for a skilled welding workforce is increasing each year, and industry demand for training that focuses on new technology and industrial maintenance is rising. The New York State Department of Labor projects approximately 42,600 openings for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers each year, on average, over the decade.

“Hudson Valley is so proud to offer a variety of options in the field of welding leading to career opportunities that are in high demand by our industry partners,” said President Roger Ramsammy. “The college continues to anticipate the needs of our region’s workforce and develop new programs that create pathways to jobs and promote economic growth. In addition, our faculty and staff are excited to host special events and activities, like this inaugural welding competition, that enrich our students’ learning, provide networking opportunities and test their skills.”

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