Sparks of Success

My dream career is to become an underwater welder. Learning to weld on land was the first step toward that goal. The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Secondary Career Center offers free welding courses for high school students, so once I heard of this golden opportunity, I immediately signed up.

At first, I was intimidated because I was the only girl in the class, and most of the guys were in their second year of the program. I was amazed, however, to find out that they didn't mind that I was working alongside them and were completely okay with answering any questions I had. They even offered me advice regarding complex welds such as TIG. We pushed each other to do our best, and at the end of the day, we were always there to help one another. I have found this to be true on the job as well.

The instructor for the class, Mr. Bob McFarland, obviously loves his job. He is passionate about welding and is always ready to answer any questions. He always brought us out of our comfort zones and embraced and overcame any difficulties that came with the welding career path. Learning from and alongside people passionate about their craft was the best part of my UAHT experience.

One of the most important lessons I carried to the job is the importance of safety. Working in an environment with sparks flying will teach you many valuable lessons, such as hot metal can look the same as cold metal, so always wear gloves. Sparks mean that something in the area was either freshly cut, tacked, or someone just laid a bead, so always wear the proper P.P.E. in the workplace. These real-life, hands-on lessons definitely prepared me for the workplace.

If you are interested in the field of welding, have a good work ethic, and want to work in a high-demand, good-paying career field, I highly recommend attending the UAHT Secondary Career and Technical Education Center. Taking these classes for free while in high school saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to graduate high school with a college-level certificate in welding that gave me a leg up on the competition. I was ready to work immediately after high school because I already had my Certificate of Proficiency in Welding. This allowed me to make more money because I had skills that others much older than me were still learning. Now, I can save money faster and eventually take classes to achieve my goal of becoming an underwater welder. The UAHT Secondary Career and Technical Education Center has helped me reach my goals faster than I ever thought I could.

About the Secondary Career and Technical Education Center...

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Secondary Career & Technical Education Center is an area secondary career center located on UA Texarkana Campus and the UA Hope Campus. The Secondary Career Center provides service areas to high school juniors and seniors with the unique opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school at no charge. The center's curriculum serves as an extension of the high school curriculum offerings by providing students with hands-on experiences in a variety of career fields taught by UAHT Faculty.

Click here for more information or to enroll in the Secondary Career Center.


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