Since 2011/12 the enrollment has increased from 680 to 814 in 2015/16. Currently, if a class of 20 (utilizing all 20 welders in the 2500 lab) experiences a machine malfunction, 1 student has to stop welding and the instructor must fix the welder for the student to return to his assignments, this chain reacts into all the other students losing contact time with the instructor while they fix the problem (5 to sometimes 45 minutes). A paraprofessional would work off a maintenance schedule not only reducing this from occurring, but also be able to take over the malfunction repair and allow the instructor to continue teaching. We currently have within our facility 48 booths, and over 100 welding machines of which due to basic use do malfunction periodically and require troubleshooting.
Currently the Welding Department processes, welds, and recycles approximately 40 tons of steel per year. We are able to use student labor to help process the material when their skill level is commensurate with the task, but often it falls to the instructor to ready materials. Due to our schedule of classes there is little to no time to complete these tasks. We have seen an increase in purchasing new material due to the lack of time available in processing the donated material. Also, the donated material must be sought and collected from our regional partners. This important task keeps the operating costs reduced.
A paraprofessional would allow the welding instructors to increase contact time with the students by at least 5 hours per week, per full-time equivalent instructor. This contact time will show an increase in retention, and most notably, completions