Living. Growing. Prospering.
Three Douglas County welding students are rising to the top in the field of welding. Several CCI welding students recently competed in the XCEL North GA Welding Competition and three students placed 1st and 3rd in the XCEL North Ga and Lincoln Electric Welding Bead event.
Jaime Guevara from Alexander High School earned first place, while Samuel Jaimes from Lithia Springs High School won third place. Josh Huey, lab assistant for welding instructor Ross Hollon, placed second.
Through the College and Career Institute (CCI), high school students in Douglas County may elect to take classes on campus at West Georgia Technical College. A student in the welding program can graduate from high school with a Welding and Joining Technology Diploma. Embedded in the diploma are four certificates - Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
According to welding instructor Ross Hollon, jobs are plentiful in the welding industry, and a high school graduate with the Welding and Joining Technology Diploma can work for a local union, the military, local fabrication shops, shipyards, the entertainment industry, a pipe line, paper mills, power plants, and more. For graduates who are willing to work hard and are not afraid to try new things or travel, job opportunities can be limitless. With starting wages at a local union around $15 an hour, a 24 year old can expect to make around $36 an hour at the end of a five year apprenticeship. Many experienced pipe welders in the U.S. only work nine months a year and make over $150,000 a year.
"To get good at welding requires a lot of hard work and practice," said Hollon. "When students are first learning, they tend to fail often. One of my favorite sayings is posted on a wall in our lab: 'Failure is only postponing success!'"
Photo: Instructor Ross Hollon, Jaime Guevara, Samuel Jaimes, and lab assistant Charlie Diaz