Welding a need: College’s new workforce center to make August debut

Welding a need: College’s new workforce center to make August debut
June 18, 2018 Jerry Vallely
Photo by Russ Hendricks

This story was originally published in the Illinois Business Journal on June 13, 2018.

Dennis Grubaugh | Illinois Business Journal

“One contractor recalls Ed Weber as the only laborer he ever knew who came to work each day with the Wall Street Journal tucked under his arm.

Weber lived a frugal life, but he had a penchant for picking stocks. His last years were spent with an older sister in a small house in Hartford surrounded by refineries.

“He never saw an oil stock he didn’t like,” Dr. Dale Chapman said.

Chapman, president of Lewis and Clark Community College, didn’t know Weber when the man showed up in his college office with his financial advisor, telling Chapman that he wanted to donate toward the school. Chapman asked him if he was thinking about an endowed scholarship.

“Actually, I was thinking about a building,” Weber told him.

The conversation led to the largest single donation from an individual ever received by the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation — an estate valued at $3.25 million.

Weber wanted a building that would train tomorrow’s workers, giving them the kind of education he never had.

The money made possible the construction of the aptly named Edward Weber Workforce Center, which is scheduled to hold its first classes this August.

Initially, the center will be the arc connecting welders of the future with the employers who are demanding them. Eventually, the center can be expanded or adapted for multiple uses, Chapman said. A lot will depend on what the region requires in training down the road…”

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