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Grant helps BSC buy high-tech welding equipment

Posted on 10/28/2015

Bismarck State College has acquired a new welding system and a mobile computer lab with a $646,000 workforce training grant from the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education matched with local industry contributions.

The Apex 2100 orbital welding system made by Lincoln Electric is the only one in North Dakota. BSC is the first state college to obtain the high-tech, programmable equipment, said Ken Paulus, BSC professor of welding.

Lightweight, portable and built tough, the Apex 2100 is about the size of a desk and designed for ease in the field. Operators can program the machine and store weld programs on a flash drive.

"This is the most advanced system on the market today," Paulus said. "Once programmed, the machine takes all human error out of a weld."

Paulus said no North Dakota industry has the welding system yet - the closest Apex 2100 is in Monticello, Minn. - but several companies visited BSC to look at it.

"There is industry demand for people to operate this equipment," Paulus said. "Operators can be trained, but industry wants to hire a welder because a welder knows what to look for in a good weld."

A potential 75 students in three programs could learn machine operation - Welding and Mechanical Maintenance program students, and those enrolled in Apprenticeship Training through BSC's Continuing Education, Training and Innovation Department (CETI). CETI also will offer training for company employees in various industries.

The mobile computer lab is for CETI instructors to teach computer, software and other technology courses off-campus and outside Bismarck.

BSC's Workforce Training Grant consists of $321,000 from the Department of Career and Technical Education, and a college match of $325,000 in cash, in-kind services, and welding consumables donated by industry.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities. For more information, visit

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