Altec donates $5K to benefit female welding students at Wallace State

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Altec representatives Kelly Westin, left, and Chris Harned, present a $5,000 donation on behalf of the Altec to Wallace State Future Foundation’s Suzanne Harbin and Welding Program Director Jim Thompson.

HANCEVILLE – The Wallace State Future Foundation recently received a donation of $5,000 from Altec to assist female welding students in completing their educations at Wallace State Community College.

Altec is a leading manufacturer of utility equipment such as bucket trucks, cranes, tree equipment, etc., and employs a number of graduates from the Wallace State Welding program.

“Because we are currently seeing a shortage of skilled trade workers in the labor force, we are working heavily with local community colleges like Wallace State. Our primary focus has been on supporting welding programs as it’s a big part of what we do at Altec,” said Chris Harned, general manager of Altec’s Birmingham facility.

“The associates we’ve hired from the Wallace State Welding Program have been a fantastic addition to the Altec team,” said Kelly Westin of Altec.

Jim Thompson, head of the Wallace State Welding program, said the support from partners like Altec helps give their graduates an opportunity to work in the field. Students who are employed by Altec have given him very positive feedback on working with them. “They are very happy to have the opportunity to work there,” Thompson said.

The $5,000 donated by Altec will help pay tuition, fees, books and supplies for a female welding student. The scholarship will provide up to $1,250 per semester for each recipient.

“Right now, women are underrepresented in the trade,” Harned said of one of the reasons for gearing the scholarship toward female welding students. Both he and Thompson agreed women have become great welders, because they tend to be more detailed.

To qualify for the scholarship, a student must have completed one semester in the welding program; have a 2.75 GPA or higher; demonstrate financial need; apply each semester; and provide an essay explaining their need for scholarship assistance and why they chose welding as a career.

“We truly appreciate Altec’s support of Wallace State students,” said Suzanne Harbin, director of advancement at Wallace State. “It’s a wonderful gift they give to students that allows them to make a better life for themselves and their families.”

For more information about the scholarship, contact the Wallace State Future Foundation at 256-352-8144, email or visit  For more information about the Wallace State Welding program, contact Jim Thompson at 256-352-8272 or, and visit