Newton DMACC to use portion of grant money on welding programs

When U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris visited the Newton DMACC campus last week, he announced that all of Iowa’s community colleges would be sharing a $13 million federal grant to be distributed through the Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing consortium, of which Newton DMACC is a member.

Kim Didier, executive director of DMACC Business Resources, said she was unsure how much of that grant would be coming to the Newton DMACC campus, but that a major portion of their share would be used in the welding and industrial maintenance program.

One of the items in the Newton DMACC budget is a virtual welding simulator, Didier said. The students can put on a welding helmet which is in fact a virtual reality projection, allowing the students to gain a very realistic welding experience, receiving direct and immediate feedback without using any materials.

A portion of the grant also will be used to launch a state-wide marketing campaign to encourage students to consider manufacturing as a viable career opportunity. Each community college will use a portion of their grant for regional marketing as well.

In addition, students will be able to test for the American Welding Society certificates, a benchmark that companies such as Vermeer look for when hiring.

John Jennings can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 425 or via email at