(ABILENE, Texas) – Many construction companies are looking for entry-level welders.

To help fill that need, Texas State Technical College will offer an Occupational Skills Award certification program in Welding Technology this fall at the college’s Industrial Technology Center in Abilene. 

Three basic welding courses will be offered over 15 weeks, said instructor Anthony Lewis.

“There is always a need for welders in every region of Texas. Between 80 and 90 percent of those jobs are for entry-level positions,” he said.

The Occupational Skills Award is part of TSTC’s Rapid Industry Skills and Employability (RISE) program that helps students learn skills quickly in order to start a career.

“When students complete this OSA program, they will have no trouble finding a job,” Lewis said. “The skills we will teach are what employers are looking for in a welder.”

Lewis will spend five weeks covering three different areas of welding.

The first five weeks will be the Introduction to Welding Using Multiple Processes class. Lewis said students will learn basic welding techniques using several different processes, including Oxy-fuel welding and cutting, gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding.

“The first five weeks, we will cover just the basics of welding to get the students ready for the next class,” Lewis said.

The second course will be Introduction to Shielded Metal Arc Welding. Lewis said emphasis will be placed on power sources, electrode selection and different joint designs.

The final five weeks will be Intermediate Welding Using Multiple Processes. Lewis said this is a more advanced class, but it will prepare students for a job. Students will receive instruction on using layout tools and blueprint reading that will include demonstrations.

Students will not spend the entire time in the classroom. Lewis said they will put what they learn into use during lab sessions.

“It will be fast and furious, but the students will get enough knowledge and information that it will not overwhelm them,” he said.

While in the classroom, students will hear firsthand about Lewis’ knowledge of welding and working on a job site.

“I have a lot of knowledge to give them. I have done a lot of work and will bring that experience into the classroom,” he said.

TSTC is offering several Occupational Skills Awards programs this fall. With unemployment increasing in Texas, TSTC is partnering with business and industry through the RISE program to get Texans back to work. The short-term, skills-focused courses provide students with the ability to gain basic technical skills to start an entry-level career.

“From there, through hard work and determination, students can enhance their skills and earn promotions,” Lewis said.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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