Jefferson Duo Brinson & Shields Pursue Welding Career

After learning of an opportunity to take welding classes during their senior year of high school, Malik Brinson and Tremaine Shields started in Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) dual enrollment program.

Conveniently located next to their high school, the two students attended OFTC’s Jefferson County Center for welding class a few hours every day while also attending their regular high school classes.

Malik Brinson (L) and Tremaine Shields (R) are 2 semesters into their welding diploma program after completing a welding certificate while in high school through OFTC’s Dual Enrollment program.

“Dual enrollment is the best choice to make to get a jumpstart in college while still in school,” Brinson said.

“I’m glad I had this opportunity to begin taking welding classes before graduating because I didn’t have to pay for my welding equipment,”

Tuition and textbooks for dual enrolled students is covered up to 30 hours by the state of Georgia making it not only a good option for education and skills training, but one that’s affordable.

Shields says dual enrollment is a good option for students who aren’t sure what they want to do after graduation.

“Attending OFTC was the best choice for me,” Shields said, “and high school students who aren’t sure what they want to do after high school should consider dual enrollment. It gave me the experience I need while I’m young. They won’t regret it.”

After completing the Gas Metal Arc Welder Technical Certificate of Credit last spring, both Brinson and Shields graduated from their high school in June. When faced with the decision of ‘what’s next?’ both immediately knew they’d return to OFTC.

“I decided to keep going at OFTC because I already had my certification and I didn’t see why I wouldn’t keep going to finish my Welding and Joining Technology diploma,” Shields said.

“I learned to love welding with a passion,” Brinson added, “and I knew that I wanted to pursue a welding job that pays well and has good benefits.”

After beginning their second semester in January, both are confident they’re being prepared with the skills they’ll need to succeed in the welding profession.

“Welding is a trade,” Brinson said, “meaning welders will always be needed; plus, it’s a good paying career choice.”

And Brinson’s right. The American Welding society claims the welding shortage will reach a deficit of 400,000 welders by 2024 due to an aging workforce.

“Not only have they learned the necessary skills to be successful but they’ve been trained to have confidence in their work,” shared Jeff Partridge, OFTC welding instructor.

“I am confident that I can weld,” Brinson shared. “My instructor is the best instructor in the world and he helps me learn to correct my mistakes.”

Shields feels prepared for the workforce because he’s learned to treat his welding training like a job. “When I’m in class, I treat it just like I’m working on the job,” he said. “We have a certain time we are supposed to be in and a time to be out.”

Excited and prepared for the future, both Brinson and Shields are thankful for the opportunity OFTC provided for them.

“I just want others to know about my experience and that in my opinion, OFTC is the best technical college in Georgia,”

Malik Brinson

For more info about OFTC’s welding program, visit the College’s website, OFTC.edu.