Welding Graduate Has a Bright Future
April is recognized as National Welding Month and is meant to celebrate the welding industry and what it means to everyday people, communities and the world. It’s also an opportunity to highlight the role technical education can play in the job opportunities for welding students.
OFTC’s Welding and Joining Technology program is designed to prepare students for career success. Students develop critical academic and technical skills required to get started and advance in the field. Upon completion of the program, graduates have the qualifications of a welding and joining technician, and are prepared to take qualification tests. Based on 2013-2014 gainful employment data, the job placement rate for OFTC students who completed this program is 93 percent. OFTC graduate Spontaneous Poole is one of those students who has found success after finishing the program.
While Poole was sure about technical education, he wasn’t as certain about which path he wanted to take. After graduating from Washington County High School in Sandersville, Ga., he considered commercial truck driving. He also knew of the growing opportunities in the medical field, so he began the respiratory care program. After seeing someone weld on television and researching the potential salary range, Poole decided that OFTC’s welding program was actually the right fit for him.
Over the past few years, Poole has been on the road to career success. He cites his training at OFTC as the starting point.
“At first it was hard, but like they say whatever you put your mind to, you can do it. You have to really pay attention in the classroom to pass the tests. After a while, I got the hang of it,” Poole said.
Despite any challenges he faced in the classroom, he persevered and credits his instructor Tony Simmons for being helpful as he gained hands-on experience. “He volunteered to help me get through whatever you would ask him. He always told me to never give up and to keep trying.”
Poole still visits his former instructor, Tony Simmons at OFTC.
After graduating, he worked for American Rail Car. A year later, he found a welding position based in Afghanistan. The company offered him the job within a week of submitting his application because they were impressed with his skills and experience.
“They liked that I’d went to school and had my pipe welding certificate,” he said.
Poole is most proud of the work he’s been able to do in securing U.S. military vehicles to help keep soldiers safer. His family, particularly his daughter, motivates him to keep going on to new heights in his career.
“It meant a lot. They really liked that I was getting out trying to further my career and being a good role model,” he added.
For those thinking about applying to OFTC’s welding and joining technology program, Poole offers this advice: “It’s a good choice. Be humble and never give up. Anything is possible.”
Students with good eyesight, math skills, critical thinking skills and the ability to apply technology to the work environment are well suited for a welding career.
In addition, it’s important to note that welding was designated as one of the programs in which students receiving the HOPE or Zell Miller Grant could be eligible for additional financial assistance through Georgia’s Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant.
OFTC accepts students in its Welding and Joining Technology diploma program every semester. Full-time students can complete the program in three semesters. For more information on registration, visit the Admissions page.