COA’s Welding Technology Program certified as Marine Trades Training program

Newport News Shipyard. (

College of The Albemarle (COA), in partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), is pleased to announce that COA’s Welding Technology Program is now certified as a Marine Trades Training (MTT) program. This latest development will provide a pipeline for students with a COA diploma in welding to enter the workforce at NNS and begin work without the delay of Marine Trades Training upon employment.

 College of The Albemarle’s Welding Technology program provides students with a sound understanding of the science, technology, and applications essential for successful employment in the welding and metal industry. Instruction includes consumable and non-consumable electrode welding and cutting processes. Graduates will be able to qualify for employment as entry-level technicians in the welding and metalworking industries. Career opportunities in construction, manufacturing, fabrication, sales, quality control, supervision, and welding-related self-employment also exist.

Joel Forehand. (Submitted)

 Joel Forehand, a College of The Albemarle graduate, is employed with NNS. He graduated from COA with a diploma in welding in July 2023, began work with NNS in August 2023, and is now an adjunct COA instructor. Newport News Shipbuilding has an extensive orientation process, the MMT program, which all employees are required to complete during their initial employment. Forehand entered the workforce at NNS so well-prepared that it piqued the interest of their leadership team, ultimately leading to the conversations that paved the way for COA to become certified as an MTT program.

“Anytime we can expand and strengthen partnerships with regional employers, it is an exciting opportunity for the College, but more importantly for our students,” said Michelle Waters, COA Dean, Business, Industry and Applied Technologies, and Campus Administrator for COA – Currituck. “Workforce development and ensuring our students are workforce ready the day they graduate are top goals for COA. This partnership helps ensure COA’s welding program meets those goals for a large industry partner.”

College of The Albemarle is committed to meeting the workforce needs throughout Northeast North Carolina and as far-reaching as the Norfolk Metropolitan in Virginia.

College of The Albemarle students will use this training to enter the workforce at NNS and support their mission – “To deliver the world’s most powerful ships and all domain solutions in service of the nation, creating the advantage for our customers to protect peace and freedom around the world.”

COA President Dr. Jack Bagwell shared, “We are so proud that our Welding Technology Program is now certified as a Marine Trades Training (MTT) Program through our partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding. This certification is a testament to the quality of education and training that College of The Albemarle provides. Our commitment to workforce development and educational excellence continues to drive our efforts to prepare students for successful careers. We are dedicated to not only meeting but exceeding the needs of the industries we serve, ensuring our students are not just job-ready, but are ahead of the curve in their technical skills and knowledge.”

For information on COA’s Welding Technology program, visit or contact Jeff Spear, assistant professor/program coordinator, at or 252-335-0821, ext 2335.