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      Local demand for welding leads to new classes at HGTC

      The Grand Strand has a great need for welders and as a result, Horry Georgetown Technical College is expanding its welding program.

      HGTC administrators say the demand for welders is the highest it's been in nearly a decade.

      HGTC Senior Vice President Marilyn Fore explained that the economic turn-around has a lot to do with the increased need, and she said they're seeing the need in a number of sectors.

      "Whether it be in aviation, whether it be in light commercial manufacturing, whether it be in the hotel industry," she explained.

      According to Fore, in the past six months, they've had six local companies looking for these workers, more than they've ever had before.

      One of those companies is Owens Steel and Machine Works. Owner William Owens attributed the demand to a rebounding economy and a lack of skilled labor.

      "People don't have hands on anymore. It's computer and everything else, and they don't have the knowledge about repairing stuff," Owens explained.

      With HGTC's first new graduates out next spring, Owens added that he's just happy to have access to some trained welders nearby.

      Administrators said they plan to offer the program day and night beginning this fall at both Horry and Georgetown campuses.

      They will be accepting a total of 60 students over 2 semesters. For more information on the program go to HGTC's website.