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Class may help spark career in welding for students

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By Jesef Williams

Some area high school students have discovered the spark that may lead to a successful career.

Thirteen seniors who take welding classes at the Lancaster High School Career Center recently earned a national certification from the American Welding Society.

They took the test May 6 at Florence-Darlington Technical College. All 13 who went passed the exam.

Class instructor Lynn Robertson said this is the first time welding students at Lancaster High have earned a certification while still in school.

The particular certification was in MIG, or metal inert gas, welding. This type involves a wire electrode that releases filler metal that can create welds of any length without stoppage.

Each student was required to use the MIG machine to weld two 6-inch pieces of metal.

"You get one shot," senior Charles McManus said. "If you mess it up, you can't go back."

During the college visit, the group got to speak with members of the American Welding Society and learn about the many jobs opportunities in that field, which don't just include positions as a welder.

Experience can lead to jobs as salesperson of welding machines, an inspector or a robotics supervisor, just to name a few.

"It's a good trade to learn," Robertson said. "The work is out there. Everybody needs something fixed."

The certification allows students to get certain jobs right now. However, Robertson urges them to also attend college to learn more skills and become more marketable.

"By me getting a certification, it gives me a better chance to get a good job," senior Chris Jones said.

Robertson said there are several Lancaster High juniors waiting to earn their certification next year.

"It's our goal at the Lancaster High Career Center to increase the number of students who receive state and national certifications," assistant principal Kim Linton said.

"Our top priority is to help our students leave high school with the skills and certifications that will increase their chances of gainful employment."

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1152