Ingleside Independent School District is creating the future of leaders in the welding industry with its new 9,500 square foot facility.
According to the American Welding Society, over 375,000 welders are needed to satisfy the demands of several industries.
Lori Garza, the coordinator of public affairs for Turner Industries, said there’s a shortage, something the program at Ingleside ISD could help with.
“To have that pool for after high school graduates to stay in the workforce and go directly into the workforce right after high school graduation,” Garza said.
Garza said everyday Turner Industries is looking to hire.
The district’s new welding facility has 100 students enrolled in the program. School officials said students can get dual enrollment credit through Del Mar College. After they’ve taken two classes through Del Mar, they have a level one certificate in welding, helping them get a foot in the door into the trade.
“You learn a lot of things like T-joint, safety, all the stuff you need to learn if you want to work out in the field or anything,” senior Santiago Ortiz said.
Ortiz said his dad got him into welding. He said with graduation approaching, he hopes this class and his hard work will prepare him for the industry.
“I love this stuff. I put a lot of work into it, I love it. My plans are to go to the pipeline and just work and follow my dreams,” Ortiz said.
There is also a virtual reality welding system for new students.
“And so, they can see and practice how to weld on a flat plate or a t-joint, and it’s really helpful,” Solis said.
Once they’re advanced, they can get real-life hands-on action in one of the 28 welding bays.
The school district tells us, starting next school year students will be able to get a level two certificate which will help them start at a higher level in welding and be able to get a job sooner.
“Whenever you get those aha moments. Whenever someone is like, Mr. Murphey I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to do that. And they come through and excel and even past my expectations for them. That’s when it’s magic, that’s what I’m looking for,” welding instructor Donnie Murphey said.
Murphey said they understand not all the students may want to go directly into welding, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for them.
“We can get them into inspection we can get them into teaching,” Murphey said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, the average certified welder salary in the United States is $53,000 a year.