Welding is a technical skill that can open doors for those that take the time to master the trade. Central Georgia Technical College instructor, Aaron Clark, has been working at Putnam County High School for years sharing his knowledge of the craft with young students looking to expand their skillset. Clark worked in the industrial and residential welding industries starting in 2009 and later became a teacher.
Clark says students in PCHS’s welding program have the opportunity to receive all seven of the technical certificates that CGTC has to offer and a Technical Certificate of Credit from the college. These certificates make it more likely for an interested student to become employed within the industry.
“This year for the first time ever, we will have some students that will receive every TCC that Central Georgia Tech offers under welding, which is a pretty neat feat,” Clark explained. “It’s a pretty unique opportunity and the possibilities are endless.”
The introductory course teaches the students lab safety before they move on to the other classes. By the time a student graduates, they are workforce ready and have completed the majority of the coursework required for the Welding and Joining diploma from CGTC.
Students in Clark’s classes are able to complete projects of their choosing in order to practice the practical skills that they are learning in the class. The students are then assessed on small pieces that demonstrate the skill being developed.
“We do try to incorporate some project-based learning with what we do because it keeps the interest of the high school group,” he explained. “That ends up being a pretty neat thing because they’re still working on their lab modules but they’re doing it in a more fun and creative way.”
The projects the students work on vary greatly but they all have a creative aspect to them. Clark showed The Eatonton Messenger several chairs, tables, a hammock stand that attaches to a truck and even a piece of armor that were all designed and created by students in the program. The class has also contributed to the school by building gates and a flowerbed for the CTAE outdoor learning area that is in development.
Clark says the students that are looking at welding as their career path have an advantage when they take the dual enrollment courses at the high school. Not only do they have the certifications, but they also have the practical, hands-on knowledge that employers are looking for in employees.
“If they apply, they get a job,” he stated. “They all end up being successful.”