STEUBENVILLE - Eastern Gateway Community College is one of 12 Ohio institutions to receive a $20,000 Dominion Foundation Higher Education Grant.
The grant was announced during a recent presentation at the University of Akron's Martin University Center.
The 12 grants, worth a total of $220,000, focus on programs that will help prepare students for technical positions in Ohio's growing energy production and other industries.
Eastern Gateway received $20,000 to apply to the purchase and installation of a virtual reality arc welding trainer as a training tool in its welding program. Students will learn how to weld in a safe environment. The trainer will allow the opportunity for testing for various welding certificates.
"This unit, Lincoln Electric VERTEX 360, will dramatically enhance and advance our welding program by allowing students to practice welding in real time with a real time look and feel and obtain instant feedback and points of instruction from the training simulator," said Mark Ciccarelli, director of work force and community outreach at Eastern Gateway.
The college anticipates putting the simulator into use in October, Ciccarelli said. "Every welding student will get to use the unit, about 15-20 students per semester. It is a great tool to introduce students to welding."
Eastern Gateway will purchase the VRTEX virtual reality arc welding training simulator, which is a computer-based training system. It is an educational tool designed to supplement and enhance traditional welding training. The combination of realistic puddle, arc welding sound and real-time feedback tied to the welder's movement provides a hands-on training experience, said Ciccarelli.
The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, Dominion East Ohio's parent company, is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well being of the communities served by Dominion companies, officials said. Dominion and the foundation annually award more than $20 million to causes that protect the environment, promote education and help meet basic human needs.
"Dominion East Ohio has a long and proud tradition of providing natural gas services throughout the state," Jeff Murphy, managing director, commercial operations, noted during the presentation luncheon. "We were an active participant in the first Appalachian natural gas boom of the early 1900s and are now providing competitive, reliable gathering, transportation and processing services for Ohio producers in the new, 21st century natural gas boom. Ohio's colleges and universities also provide an essential service to the natural gas renaissance. They are equipping our area work force to maximize the economic benefits and to ensure effective stewardship of these new energy supplies.
Potentially even more significant, the talented innovators that study at Ohio's colleges today will contribute to the growth of the manufacturing, transportation and service sectors made possible by affordable, abundant, local energy."
The Ohio Higher Education Grants are part of nearly $1.4 million in Dominion Foundation grants awarded this year to colleges and primary and secondary schools in states where the company does business.