Welding is a skill that is in demand.
Several students who attend the Sevier Career and Technical Education Center walked out of school Friday with the ability to get a job welding.
“We are giving them the American Welding Society test,” said Clyde Ellertson, an instructor with Weber State University and owner of his own welding business. Ellertson came to Richfield last week to give students the test and allow them to earn a qualification, which they can use to get a job.
“I had a company last week call me and wanted 10 welders,” Ellertson said. “I just didn’t have them.”
Earning a qualification in welding requires students to demonstrate their skills, and then have their welds visually inspected and tested under a hydraulic press.
“The thing with a welding certification is that you have to recertify every six months to make sure your skills are up to standard,” Ellertson said. He said in the aftermath of the Northridge, California, earthquake of 1994, it was determined that many welders were not keeping up with their skills, so the six-month rule was put in place.
“If you’re working, it’s easy because you have a supervisor who can check your work,” Ellertson said. “It’s a good change. We have to make sure our industry as a profession is as good as it can be.”
The student mix included approximately 45 percent girls.
“I’m impressed by the young people and their excitement for learning about this,” Ellertson said. “These students will be qualified to the D1.1 standard.”
The qualifications earned during Friday’s test could be a springboard for a job, or even further education, said Justin Butler, instructor.
“Clyde was my instructor at Weber high and Weber state,” Butler said. He said Ellertson came to Richfield to help the local students.
“We’ve had the pipe unions and structural unions come in and they are amazed at what our students can do,” Butler said. He said the skills learned for welding can lead directly to a job, or help them as they pursue higher degrees in subjects such as welding engineering.
“This is a tremendous asset for these kids,” Butler said. “We can see them flourish after high school.”
Butler said he’s seen former students earn as much as $250,000 by pursuing welding as a career.
The CTE students have been learning about welding on decades old equipment. Butler said grants have allowed for five new welders to be installed in the CTE, but more upgrades, such as having a MIG welder, will help the students develop even more skills.
“We want to see this program continue to grow,” Butler said.
In all 15 students took the test, but it will take a few weeks before the results will be announced.