The welding class at THS is taught by Southern Regional Technical College instructor John Kemper. Kemper stated that even though his five students have only been studying welding for four months, they've learned a lot.
“This competition was a great experience. They got to see what it's all about," said Kemper.
CTAE Director Shamane Taylor is very excited about the return of the welding program to THS.
"We have a number of different Career Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathways in our system, but we moved away from the traditional skilled trade programs that were once so prevalent."
Taylor went on to say that the United States is facing a nationwide skills gap, and too many good-paying jobs can't be filled.
“That's why I'm so pleased to be working with SRTC to provide this option to our students," said Taylor.
Students will be able to earn two welding certificates in two years, which will qualify them for entry-level welding jobs wherever they wish to work.
"Welding is hard and hot, but the pay makes it a worthwhile career," said Kemper.
Junior Leondre' Cliett competed in the challenge and didn't really know what to expect this year. After his first experience at the Skills Challenge, he aims to be ready for next year's competition.
Cliett said, "We're going to be in the top ten!"
Skills Challenge is hosted by the South Georgia and Southwest Georgia Workforce Development Alliances, in conjunction with AGC Georgia, JCI Contractors, and Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Florida.