ARC welding classes hurt by pandemic, but are still essential


ARC Welding professor Jose Bueno has been teaching students by uploading demonstration videos in attempts to give students the most accurate in-class experience. (Photo by Emily Mello)

When the Los Rios Community College District decided to move fall semester classes online, certain classes had to adjust to the circumstances more than others. Some classes easily transitioned to Zoom, but the more hands-on instructors found that they couldn’t teach their material in the same way without students having access to their equipment.

This caused the faculty of the American River College welding department to transition its classes in new ways. Jose Bueno III, a welding professor at ARC, says he has had to accept that teaching online has come with extreme challenges . 

“We took a hard hit with all the restrictions due to COVID-19,” Bueno said. “We were able to transition some of our courses to an online format, but the classes we couldn’t transition to being online 100% we had to postpone.”

These restrictions have caused the postponement of at least six different welding topics offered at ARC, which can each offer three different courses in a semester, according to Bueno. 

Bueno says he understood that he was going to have to get creative this year if the welding classes would be able to take place online because students needed to have more resources to be able to accurately understand each welding procedure. 

“We are having to mix things up and get creative,” Bueno explained. “I have been using a lot of online resources and I have made YouTube channels to record our own demonstration videos and put them online for students as extra resources.”

Though these services have helped, it still doesn’t match the experience of seeing the demonstration in person, according to Bueno. Spring 2021 courses have yet to be posted, but Bueno explained that he hadn’t heard much of anything about any welding classes being offered.

However, through the COVID-19 pandemic, welding is still in high demand throughout the country. The need for welders is expected to increase by 26% in 2020, according to the Advanced Career Institute. Bueno explained that the work hasn’t slowed down in the welding workplace.

“Employers are steadily hiring welders,” Bueno said. “We did see a slow down with a few companies but overall work is still happening.”

Bueno also laid out a scenario showing the necessity of welding in the modern day. 

“Everyone loves driving their car, but certain parts of that car needed to be welded together, and without a welder that car couldn’t function”

Welding will continue to be necessary in the world we live in and will always be needing people according to Bueno. He hopes he will be able to get back to teaching students these crucial techniques soon.