Students get exposed to welding industry during 4th Annual Welding Gold Collar Career Day

STC students crowd around a virtual reality training demonstration during the 4th Annual Welding Gold Collar Career Day at the Technology Campus in McAllen on Nov. 29, 2012.

One of the biggest needs in today’s job market is for welders, and South Texas College has responded to the industry’s demand by educating the future welders of the Rio Grande Valley. To supplement students’ classroom and practical work, STC hosted the 4th Annual Welding Gold Collar Career Day on Nov. 29 at the Technology Campus in McAllen.

“We’re getting more recognition out there and a lot of students are starting to realize that STC has a welding program,” said STC Welding Technology Program Chair Richard Ingram. “Although it’s fairly new, it’s starting to grow. Welding is getting to be more popular, especially with how the economy has been going.”

The Gold Collar Career Day included pipe welding demonstrations, displays of the latest in orbital technology, educational sessions, virtual reality training demos, and a FFA welding competition for high school students, among others.

A student participates in the FFA Welding Competition.

The event exposed students and faculty to the newest equipment that’s being used in the industry and gave them an opportunity to network with vendors and potential employers, as well as experts in the field.

During the FFA welding competition, over 130 students from various high schools around the Valley participated in the event.

“Every year that we’ve had the program at STC, we’ve increased the amount of kids participating. It’s really catching on,” said STC Welding Instructor Eddie Garza. “The kids want to compete at a college. It’s an awesome thing that’s going on here joining the high school and college. We’re bridging those gaps.”

“They learn to follow directions in the competition and they get exposed to a college environment,” he concluded. “From an industry perspective, they are going to get a better educated worker through these types of welding programs and events, and right now it’s a boom market for welders. There’s a big need for welders.”

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