The West Texas Energy Consortium, in partnership with our community college/technical school and industry representatives, began a unique regional alignment project in the fall of 2014 in response to the rising demand for trained welders in the workforce. It is estimated that 50-70% of the US gross national product (GNP) is made possible because of welding. It is an essential process for many industries and the need for skilled welders continues to grow. Students in the West Texas region will have access to a first-of-its-kind regionally recognized, transferable Level I welding certificate through participating community colleges and technical schools in our Consortium's region. Increased transparency for the industry and improved mobility for students; an aligned approach provides a more productive gateway for future employees into the workforce. This Virtual Center of Excellence in Welding is a regional resource hub for students, educators, community members, and industry alike to learn more about welding and the unique effort underway in West Texas!