In 1966 the Area 11 Community College, (now Des Moines Area Community College - DMACC) signed a temporary lease on a building located at 2800 Bell Avenue in Des Moines. This building housed the MDTA (Manpower Development and Training Act), a federally funded vocational center. This center served as the administration for many of the vocational classes. In the fall of 1967 DMACC started its own welding program, which it shared with the MDTA. The DMACC welding program moved to the Ankeny campus in 1968 and was housed in building 14. In the fall of 1970, the program was moved to building 10, where it remains today.
Many of the first welding students were referred to the college by various government and private agencies including Vocational Rehabilitation WIN, Veterans Administration and the Employment Security Office. In response to a community survey, and with the advice of the advisory committee, the program was designed on a four-quarter curriculum system. Students would be provided the skills, aptitudes and knowledge necessary to enter the field of welding in various types of welding environments, factories, job shops, etc.
Classes met from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Course work included blueprint reading, math and English. Several hours per day were devoted to hands-on lab sessions where students had the opportunity to use their newly learned skills. In the fall of 1983 DMACC converted from the quarter system to the semester system, requiring more credits to be earned to complete the program. This change resulted in a shortage of students enrolled in the program.
In 1989 the program was evaluated and restructured to what it is today. It was changed from a degree program to a diploma program, and was geared to students who only wanted to take a few courses to upgrade their skills. With these changes the program began to grow and increased the number of students to almost four times what it had previously been serving. In addition, night classes were also offered for part time students.
With the open entry/open exit delivery method that is currently being used, students may enter the program at any time in the semester providing there is sufficient time remaining to finish that module and space is available. Students may register by obtaining instructor approval and are able to register for as little as two credits at a time, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. Evenings classes are offered Monday/ Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Saturday classes are offered "as needed".
Students graduating with a diploma from the welding program should have the skills, ability and knowledge of an "entry level welder". They should be familiar with welding equipment, be able to work safely in a welding environment, have knowledge of the use of electrodes, be able to weld in all positions with all four processes and safely use both oxy-acetylene and plasma cutting equipment. Students are also able to qualify to AWS (American Welding Society) standards if they so choose to aid in their employment pursuits.
At the end of every welding module students are required to demonstrate their skills and ability through a series of welding tests. Tests are graded on the student's skill and ability shown on the test examples by an AWS Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Educator.
The welding program Diploma includes the following modules. Note, each module may be completed individually, whereby students receive a Certificate for each module completed.
Larry Tyler was the program chair when the program moved to the Ankeny Campus.
When Larry Retired, Ken Collier became the program chair.