(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – The structural integrity of buildings caught the attention of Clay Scheller from a young age.
The Newcastle native is now learning more about how metal stays together while studying Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College. After earning his certificate of completion in Structural Welding, Scheller hopes to work for a West Texas agriculture aircraft company like others in his family.
Scheller credits his family for leading him into the welding industry, dating back to his time as a child looking at buildings.
“I was amazed how all the buildings stayed together so well,” he said. “I would ask about it with my grandpa. He told me about the welding industry and would let me help him build fences.”
While building those fences, Scheller’s grandfather gave him some career advice.
“He told me that I would never run out of jobs as a welder,” he said. “That is why I decided to become a welder.”
To help him achieve his career goal, Scheller was one of many high school students to compete in TSTC’s high school welding competitions. In 2022 he was awarded the top scholarship at the Breckenridge event. Stephen Hope, TSTC’s Welding Technology instructor in Breckenridge, presented him with the good news.
“That was an honor for me,” Hope said. “I knew that Clay was very determined to do his best.”
While Scheller does strive to do his best, he still has a competitive side.
“I always want to be the best and outdo most of my friends,” he said. “I still have a competitive spirit.”
Scheller said attending TSTC has assured him that he made the right career decision.
“Stephen has taught me a lot since I started school,” he said. “It is good to be able to learn so much in order to be prepared for the real world.”
One area that Scheller said he needs to improve on is his overhead welding technique.
“It has been coming together for me,” he said. “I know I have to keep practicing my work to make sure I am the best at it.”
Hope sees the determination in Scheller each day he is in the lab.
“He works really hard and does not let anything get to him,” Hope said. “If Clay has a problem, he is going to work to make sure he learns from it to become a better welder. He really struck me as someone who wants to succeed.”
Scheller is also active in letting his friends know about his experiences at TSTC. He was excited to help with the 2023 welding competition and see more people participate.
“I know the more people that go to school at TSTC will be able to get a head start on the real world,” he said.
One person in particular who he hopes will take advantage of TSTC’s welding program is his younger brother. Due to inclement weather, his brother did not attend the welding contest in February.
“Even though he was not able to practice his welding techniques, I tried to convince him to come to the contest,” Scheller said. “I am hoping he will decide to come to TSTC because I know he will be a good welder.”
According to onetonline.org, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $47,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 in the state, according to the website.
TSTC offers Welding Technology at each of its 10 campuses located throughout Texas. Welding Technology is one of nine programs at TSTC that have money-back guarantees. The college’s commitment to participating students is simple: If they do not have a job in their field within six months after graduation, they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information on the Money-Back Guarantee program, visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/tuition/.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.