(WACO) – Welding majors at Texas State Technical College have a pipeline for employment directly to a Southeastern company nationally recognized for its work and reputation.
National Boiler Service of Trenton Ga. began testing selected TSTC welding students in tungsten inert gas welding for a two-day period in December 2015. Testing was also done in April with similar plans for August and December. So far, 13 TSTC alumni and students from the Waco campus have achieved the company’s work standards and have either been hired or will start welding jobs in late summer.
“We are the premier industrial boiler shutdown and repair company in the United States,” the company’s Director of Human Resources Larry Brown said. “We do work all over the U.S. We do not do pipe welding but rather tube welding. We do paper mills and power plants.”
The boilers that employees work on can be from 12 to 20 stories tall. The boilers often contain heavy wall pipes and contain water. Brown said it was a challenge for the company to find welders with the right skill sets to work with the piping.
“Welding is not done in comfortable positions,” Brown said. “They have to slide in, be on their back, reach over their heads, squat, you name the position.”
The company works with less than 10 technical colleges throughout the country to test and find quality welders.
“TSTC has a tremendous set of instructors,” Brown said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. The welding facility is neat, well laid out and organized. It reflects the pride and professionalism that the faculty instil in their students.”
Josh Harrelson, 28, of Waco and Jacob Reed, 27, of Valley Mills both received Associate of Applied Science Welding Technology degrees in May. Both tested earlier this year and received certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and have accepted jobs with National Boiler Service.
Harrelson and Reed said they worked about three months before the testing to perfect their skills.
“I was very relieved and excited because this was my first official welding test for a job,” Harrelson said. “It was a rewarding experience.”
Harrelson said he is eager to join the workforce this summer.
“Blue collar work is the way I have gone throughout my life,” he said. “There are a lot of branches in welding. You can inspect, do product development, test and evaluate. I want to be the jack of all trades instead of the master of one.”
Reed said he was eager to use alloys like stainless steel and titanium when he is working.
“It’s an opportunity to advance your skills and learn more,” he said.
The company has a database of 8,000 workers nationally with 2,000 listed as active. Of these, there are more than 400 welders nationwide.
“Our people travel and they live wherever they happen to have a residence and have a job,” Brown said. “These are shutdown and completion jobs.”
Brandon Jones, a welding program instructor, said visiting representatives of companies provide students with a morale boost and inspiration to work harder as they move toward graduation and their career goals.
TSTC offers welding programs in Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County.
For more information on TSTC programs or for fall registration, go to tstc.edu.