ONTARIO — Welding has sparked the interest of a local company that donated more than $20,000 to the Poverty To Prosperity project this month.

Kissler Family Foundation, which is part of Northwest-based Norco Inc., provided the monetary donation. Norco donated supplies such as welding stools, welding wire and a plasma cutter.

“It really was wonderful,” said Cathy Yasuda, Treasure Valley Community College Foundation’s executive director and Poverty to Prosperity committee member. “The Norco company has been one of our major partners in helping create one of the nicest school facilities that we have in the area.”

Yasuda said some of the money will also go to the TVCC welding facility, which is used by career and technical education students, as well as students from the college.

The welding piece of the career and technical education program is in its second year, and officials say it has been a success for students.

“It’s a great program,” said Roger Watkins, the welding instructor at Ontario High School. “It’s a really sweet deal whether they become welders or not. It gives these high schoolers the feeling like they’ve stepped up in their game.”

The welding program teaches a total of six classes, for 21 college credits, in two years. The first year is taught at the high school, and students go to TVCC for their second year of welding classes.

At the end of the program, students receive welding certificates with their diploma, and then they have a chance to continue at TVCC and receive specified certifications in such things as arc welding, gas welding or structural welding.

“They can go a lot of different directions,” Watkins said. “They’ll also have some fork lift training and they’ll have that certificate, all for no cost.”

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