ARGOS — Five students from the Adult Basic Education (ABE) welding classes took what could be the most important test of their lives Thursday.
They have been working for the past 15 weeks to learn and perfect welding techniques in order to obtain a MIG welding certification.
According to ABE Director Deb Sherwood, the five young students had all dropped out of high school for various reasons.
“One came to us with a GED and the others have been taking GED classes along with the welding classes,” Sherwood said.
This is the first time that welding classes have been offered. Sherwood said the funding for the program came from Work One, and out of a number of applications, the ones chosen had earned the spots due to their displays of responsibility and maturity.
Teaching the class was Michael Jones of the Argos Schools, where the classes were also held.
“They (students) will receive a letter grade and will be given a chance to pass the certification test,” Jones said.
On hand this week was Harry Miller who has been welding and teaching for the past 30 years. Miller is a pipe-fitter by trade and also a teacher for Vincennes University which is extending credit for the course if completed.
Jones referred to Miller as a “legend in the welding industry.”
“There are many jobs out there for good welders who are dependable,” Miller said.
Jones concurred saying, “Industries out there do not have enough certified welders.”
Miller praised Jones as well, saying, “Michael (Jones) has done an outstanding job with these kids. He is very dedicated.”
The students will continue to be under the guidance of Work One in the Young Adult program. Sherwood said the next step is to help write résumé’s to utilize their certification and seek employment. Sherwood said, “Those who do not have a GED yet will continue to come to GED classes.”
Also attending the Dec. 16 final was Suzanne Wheeler of Vincennes University. She said her job entails training for business and industry and this program was one of the best. She said, “This certification is good nationwide.”
Students applying for the classes must fit into the income requirements to be considered. According to Wheeler, this type of training usually costs more than $1,000.
Sherwood said they hope to hold additional classes in the spring and in the fall as well.