Why Weld? OFTC’s Jeff Partridge Weighs In
According to Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) welding instructor Jeff Partridge, welding is a career where one can thrive.
Partridge has taught welding classes at OFTC since 2007. An extensive background in the field, his knowledge, skills, and experience make him a perfect fit for an instructor. Not to mention his passion for the field.
“My welding instructor, Thomas Lyles, made a huge impact in my life and I realized there was an opportunity for me to share my knowledge and skills with students to help them become successful, just as Mr. Lyles did for me,” Partridge said.
Partridge was first introduced to welding in high school. “I had an uncle who was a welder and I saw that he was making a good living,” Partridge shared. He gave it a try and discovered it was something he really enjoyed.
“There are many opportunities in the welding field,” Partridge said. This is something he reminds his students of every day.
“The American Welding Society predicts there will be a shortage of 400,000 welders by the year 2024,” Partridge said. That coupled with an aging workforce solidifies a need for new welders to enter the field.
So, what makes a good welder? Partridge says, “a student must have good work-ethics, good hand-eye coordination, the willingness to learn, and patience.”
“If you like to work with your hands and if you like building things, welding might be something you’ll enjoy,” he added.
OFTC offers welding classes at several campus locations, including the Jefferson County Center in Louisville. Welding courses are also available to high school students through dual enrollment, allowing students to earn college credit while identifying potential career opportunities.
And while there are many positive aspects to welding at OFTC, one thing that sets the college apart is the one-on-one instruction and care students receive from their instructors.
“At OFTC everyone is one big family,” Partridge said. “We spend a lot of time together and we know each other’s needs and concerns. I think this spills out into the atmosphere our students are in and shows them we are an institution that cares about each one of them.”
Partridge not only desires to prepare his students with the skills necessary to become a code welder but also to prepare them for success in the workplace. “In addition to specific skills, we also teach students the work ethics that are needed to become a great employee,” he added.
“OFTC’s programs will prepare you for a career, and you can take it as far as your willing to go,” Partridge said.
Partridge has been married to wife, Melisa, for 23 years and has one son, Bryant, who is in his last semester of OFTC’s Welding & Joining Technology Diploma program. He is also very active in his church – Wadley Baptist – and community.