two men looking at a metal plate

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Welding has been in Jacob Dannar’s family for generations. It was only natural for him to continue the tradition.

“I remember my grandfather working in a welding shop in Nebraska,” said the Texas State Technical College Metallica Scholar and current Welding Technology student.

Being able to learn additional techniques, both as a student at TSTC and as an employee at Sweetwater Machine and Welding, is helping Dannar enhance his skills.

“The instructors at TSTC make welding more understandable for me,” he said. “My supervisors at work are very cooperative about what I have to do at school. I plan to stay with them after I earn my certificate.”

Dannar said TSTC instructors Frank Molini and Nathan Oliver work with every student to make sure they understand correct procedures and techniques.

“They are great at helping me understand things from blueprints and how to make the best welds,” Dannar said. “I have seen myself improve with each project.”

Oliver said Dannar is becoming a more confident welder.

“He takes our instructions very well,” Oliver said. “He is a good student who has his priorities in line. That will make him a dedicated welder.”

Dannar learned about TSTC’s Welding Technology program after his father, Chris Pittman, was hired as a TSTC Diesel Equipment Technology instructor in Sweetwater.

Welding is in Dannar’s blood, according to Pittman. Dannar’s uncle and grandfather both worked in the welding industry.

“I am extremely proud of what Jacob has been able to do. He is starting to show the promise of a solid career,” Pittman said.

Becoming a Metallica Scholar through the Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) was an added bonus.

“I have listened to a lot of the band’s music over the years,” Dannar said. “I cannot thank them enough for the scholarship opportunity because it eased a big financial burden for me.”

MSI was launched in 2019 by All Within My Hands in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges. MSI supports 42 community colleges across 33 states. By the end of this year, the foundation expects to have helped more than 6,000 students pursue careers in the trades.

Dannar also received experience in judging projects during the recent high school welding competition in Sweetwater.

“There were a lot of kids who showed good potential as welders,” he said. “I was excited to be asked to help judge the contest. It will help me know what to look for when I complete projects.”

According to, welders can earn a yearly median salary of more than $48,000 in Texas. Welding jobs were expected to increase 23% between 2020 and 2030 in the state, according to the website.

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 the six months following graduation, then they will receive a full refund of their tuition. For more information, visit

For more information about TSTC, visit

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