Fox Valley Technical College unveils new welding lab

Miller Electric donated the equipment in an effort to shrink the skills gap in Wisconsin


APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Fox Valley Technical College unveiled a new welding lab on its Appleton campus Thursday made possible by a big donation by Miller Electric Manufacturing Company.

Tristin Peebles works for Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton while improving his welding skills at Fox Valley Technical College. It’s a craft he started years ago.

“Chose welding because my dad got me into it when I was probably 9 years ago, been around cars and racing,” says FVTC Student Tristin Peebles.

Now he’ll be able to develop that skill even more thanks to eight new robotic welders and an arc welding system donated to Fox Valley Technical College by Miller Electric.

“Both Miller Electric and Fox Valley Tech recognize that the gap in skills trade, welders specifically, is continuing to grow,” said Miller Electric’s Dave Lambert.

It’s a shortage manufacturing companies in Wisconsin are feeling.

A company in the Fox Valley that has been looking for a welder for months is Fireline Sprinkler Corporation.

“If I had to guesstimate we’ve interviewed 25 people and weld tested those people and none passed our welding test,” said Fireline Sprinkler Corporation’s Kristine Taylor.

The company that makes and installs sprinklers believes its applicants need more hands-on experience.

Peebles thinks he can gain that needed experience by using the new machines at FVTC.

“If you use it you’ll gain more knowledge. Every machine is different,” said Peebles.