Over 50 local high school students gathered at Yuba College on April 14, 2016 to demonstrate their welding skills in the annual Welding Olympics.
The students, who range from novice to advanced, came from different high schools, like Foothill, Corning, Live Oak, Sutter and Gridley.
The Welding Olympics introduce students to processes they have not seen before and allows students to practice their current skills in an environment that is new to them. The students use both old and new equipment in the shop, which prepares them for the job market, and helps them grow their portfolios and networks.
Welding professor Dan Turner provides his students clear direction in the shop, especially safe practices. The shop works under industry safety codes. Students are required to wear the welding equipment, including safety glasses, to avoid burns or other injuries.
Turner does not only work with the welding program. He also helps the college. Sometimes, he disagrees with college decisions, but he always focuses on the next project. “If you dwell on the things that don’t happen,” he said, “then you won’t get around to the things that need to happen.”
Turner works well under pressure. In fact, he even puts himself in difficult situations because it pushes him to get more things done. “I don’t think there is anything that is not under pressure,” he says. “It’s important to be able to work well under pressure.”
But the most important thing for Turner is his students. He loves getting emails from alumni telling them about their successes in getting jobs and buying houses. He likes to know that he has affected the lives of his students in a positive way.
Turner says students who are considering a career in welding need to explore the many different facets within the welding industry. Students can find jobs in welding, of course, but also in sales or in teaching.
NOTE: This article was featured in the summer 2016 edition of The Prospector.