Welding classes offered at Polk County High School

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A student welding. (photo submitted)

Polk County High School (PCHS) and the Career and Technical Education department (CTE) announce the offering of its first welding class this semester. Jeff Ballard of Isothermal Community College (ICC) is teaching PCHS students in preparation for careers in the construction industry.

A student welding at PCHS. (photo submitted)

There is urgency for more artisans. According to information from Clemson University, the southeast has a shortfall of over 20,000 skilled craftworkers now, with an additional 10,000 each year needed to replace the aging workforce. Area industry is collaborating with ICC to combat this escalating issue. Their mission is to help supply highly skilled employees to fill the growing void in the construction field.

The Huskins program is a statewide agreement with all community colleges and public high schools, allowing students to earn college credits while still in high school at no additional charge. This program will accelerate the process of providing better-trained employees in a depleting pool of craftworkers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Upon completion of all welding modules from a succession of courses, Ballard’s welding students will have documentation from The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Craft education and training through NCCER provides each qualified student with a credential. The NCCER credential is highly recognized in the construction industry and offers standardized training in all areas. Polk County High School’s CTE department offers NCCER credentialing in carpentry as well.

Welding students who earn NCCER credentials are prepared to take a final test to become certified welders, making them even more sought after. Ballard states that industry welders could earn up to $70,000 per year in this region, depending on the type of employment.

Students at PCHS say they are excited about their future. When asked what they liked about the class, Charlie Lookadoo and Johnny Parker both said they enjoyed doing this type of work and were eager to learn more. Their excitement is spreading; additional students are preparing to register for welding classes that will begin in the fall.

To combat the great expense of the program, Polk County High School is accepting donations of scrap metal and other supplies needed for the program. Contact the school for further information.