UP high school students receive welding certifications at Bay College

This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 2:18 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - There’s a new group of young, certified welders in the U.P. Students from the U.P. and northern lower Michigan were at Bay College on Thursday, testing for an important certification.

“We have different welding students and programs from across northern Michigan coming together to try to get students their welding credentials, the American Welding Society Qualifications,” said Trent Bellingar, the CTE director for Delta-Schoolcraft ISD.

Twenty-three students were tested Thursday. They had to weld pieces of metal together, then cut them into strips called coupons.

“We’re in the Bay College shop, it’s different. They’re nervous, they’re shaky and they’re asking a lot of questions. But we like them to have these kinds of opportunities for failure so that later on when they’re on a job site, they don’t get as nervous because they’ve had the opportunity to be nervous and get the shakes out,” said Bellingar.

Students smoothed down their coupons to prepare them for the face bend and root bend. The goal is to pass these tests without the metal separating – that’s how you know you have a good weld.

“When they leave high school, they have credentials. They have something that tells them they’re different from other high school kids so they can help into the workforce and fill some of the skills gaps we have right now,” said Bellingar.

The welding instructor says the welding field is changing and stigmas around the trades aren’t true.

“The fact is your grandpa’s trades isn’t today’s trades. It’s clean, it’s safe, the employees are taken care of and it’s a long-term career that you can retire from again,” said Bellingar.

Students who passed Thursday’s certification are now able to join the workforce right after high school.