BALDWIN COUNTY, Ga. — Aaron Clark pursued a welding career shortly after graduating from high school.
"Out of all the other things I could've done. I couldn't have asked for a better pay scale situation from the time I started this when I was 19," he said.
Baldwin High School Principal Jason Flanders wants students to have the same technical skill opportunities through a dual-enrollment program with Central Georgia Technical College.
"The workforce needs to show that for every one skilled tradesmen that comes into the profession right now, five are leaving. So there's a large demand for hands-on experience in the workforce and being able to have skilled trades for our students to be involved in," Flanders said.
Students wear protective gear to get hands-on training with the tools available at Baldwin High School.
Now, adults can learn welding skills in the same lab through Central Georgia Tech's evening classes, headed by Vice President of Satellite Operations Dana Davis.
"This is a perfect opportunity for people that are working during the day, to also in a short period of time, come in the evenings and be trained so they can actually upgrade their skills, change jobs, have a better employment," Davis said.
"You're working towards a certificate and once you complete that you're going to make at least $40,000 a year, and I believe it's $21 an hour," Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Noris Price said.
Clark will teach the class.
"It's a fast-paced, academic schedule that can get you a good paying job to be able to support a family, support kids, and so forth, and ultimately that's what we're here for. We're here for you to get a job," Clark said.
The class is offered Monday to Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. starting August 13.
The welding and joining diploma program takes about a year and a half to complete.
For short-term courses, you can find a list of CGTC's specialized certification programs here.
To enroll in the adult welding evening classes, you can call the admissions office at Central Georgia Technical College's Milledgeville campus at 478-445-2300.