2018 Jan 10: RISD Career and Technical Education (CTE): Focus on Welding

Rockdale ISD continues to be a leader in Career and Technical Education (CTE), and this week we would like to showcase the career of Welding. Mrs. Britina Pesak, RISD CTE Director, has some great information regarding this highly skilled career.

          Welding is not an easy job. It can be brutal in the hot Texas summers and not all that pleasant in the few days of winter. Not to mention it requires a certain amount of strength; this is not a desk job. But welding is essential to the infrastructure of our lives and many people don’t realize the importance it plays in our everyday lives.

          The conversation around the country has centered on the skills gap in the trades for some time now, and Rockdale CTE has been focused on helping close that gap. This week, we will discuss how teachers at Rockdale High School have been working to create interest in younger generations, increase the knowledge in the field, and help fill the growing demand for welders.

          Art Free and Brandon Grigsby both teach students about the welding industry at Rockdale High School. Students who show an interest or aptitude for the career begin the coherent sequence of courses in Principles of Skilled Trades where they earn their OSHA-10 safety certification (OSHA is an industry safety standard) and learn about tools, measurement and other basics. Students can then begin to take classes specific to welding to earn NCCER certifications.

          Once the students are in the advanced level welding classes, they can also compete against other schools in welding competitions through membership in Texas FFA and SkillsUSA. Recently, students competed at the Columbus FFA welding contest where they had the chance to participate in three different levels of competitions: Level 1 – 1F, Level 2 - 1G, and Level 3 - 2G. Students also participated in a timed cutting contest, welding knowledge and tool identification quiz.

          The results from the contest were impressive! In Level 1, three students from Rockdale made the top 20: Koye Bleeker, Blaise Samford, and Tyler Eliot. In Level 2, three Rockdale students made the top 10: Raul Flores, Dalton Hubnik, and Isiah Smith. In Level 3, three students made the top 20: Jacob Phillips, Braden Wallis, and JR Harris. With over 200 contestants in the contest, this was quite the accomplishment and says a lot about the program.

          As students continue to hone their skills in the classroom and laboratory under the supervision of the teachers, in early February, students will have the chance to compete in the District SkillsUSA welding competitions at TSTC in Waco. We look forward to great results from this event as well and hope for some state-qualifiers!

Please contact me, Britina Pesak, Director of CTE at bpesak@rockdaleisd.net or 512-430-6027 if you would like to find out more about any of our CTE programs!