Maverick Fisher has joined Olney Central College as the Welding Specialist for the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Title III Block Grant.

The Title III program is supported in part by a five-year grant awarded to Olney Central College from the U.S. Department of Education effective October 1, 2018. The estimated total cost for all project activities is $2,506,775 financed by the grant award of $2,249,968 (90%) and $256,807 (10%) by Olney Central College. Initiatives at OCC include redesigning the Welding Program with the inclusion of a two-year associate’s degree.

A graduate of OCC, Fisher brings more than eight years’ welding experience to the position. A member of Boilermakers Union 374 in Hobart, Ind., Fisher has worked as a traveling boilermaker maintaining and building both coal and nuclear power plants. He was previously employed as a fabricator at BWXT in Mt. Vernon, Ind., which builds nuclear propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy. Fisher also served as a welder at GSI, Inc. and DC Weld, both located in his hometown of Flora.

Fisher, who holds numerous certifications in both the nuclear field and construction industry, also taught basic and artistic welding classes as an adjunct instructor at OCC.

In his new position, Fisher will be responsible for writing the two-year welding curriculum and teaching the courses, which will begin in August 2020.

“I’m excited to get started on the two-year degree,” Fisher said. “I would have loved to have been able to complete my associate’s degree when I was here. This is a chance for students to further develop their skills and expand their employment opportunities.”

The grant will provide funding for new state-of-the-art equipment for the welding lab, which will be located at the West Richland Center in Noble.

Fisher has always enjoyed welding and looks forward to preparing others to enter the field.

“It has been a really good career for me,” Fisher said. “There are a lot of high paying jobs out there. Receiving additional training and earning a degree will be very beneficial for the students. Welding is a career where you don’t have to wait 10 years to get top pay. If you have the skills, you can earn it right away.”