By ROBERT CALLAHAN

Lewiston Regional Technical Center Director

In a challenging economic environment, Lewiston Regional Technical Center and WahlcoMetroflex have developed a mutually beneficial partnership.

WahlcoMetroflex, based in Lewiston, is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of diverters, dampers and expansion joints for a host of industrial applications. A key to success has been its ability to recruit and retain a skilled design and manufacturing team. Lewiston Regional Technical Center has played an important role in training welders and metal fabricators to augment the WahlcoMetroflex manufacturing team.

Currently, WahlcoMetroflex employs five LRTC graduates. Steve Boulet, WahlcoMetroflex director of administration, characterized the partnership as “an ideal way to fill our need for skilled people who can add value to our organization.”

Three years ago, when the LRTC welding/fabrication shop needed improvements, WahlcoMetroflex made a significant investment in the shop. This investment came in the form of steel and other materials needed to build new welding booths and tables, as well as technical expertise to assist with the design of the new shop. The company also continues to provide steel for students to learn the welding and fabrication trade. The result of the partnership, said welding teacher Bob Stewart, “is a first-rate training facility, which trains the welders and metal fabricators that WahlcoMetroflex relies on to continue to grow its business around the globe.”

More opportunities are available, as well. Lewiston Adult Education recently started an industrial welding program for adults in the evening, co-taught by a WahlcoMetroflex assembly supervisor. The end result is an opportunity for students to receive high-quality career training in a skilled trade and also connect with a world-class business.

“This partnership has provided a great model for productive partnerships between public education and private industry, something we need more of these days,” said Rob Callahan, LRTC director.


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