Students in the construction and industrial trades at Sussex Technical High School can sign up for a new course in welding and fabrication this fall, the latest step in the school’s renewed focus on career and technical education.
The integrated welding course will be a required elective for students in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; electrical; landscape management and environment; carpentry and construction management; automotive technologies; and collision repair technical areas, offering a new skill and professional certification, said Superintendent Stephen Guthrie.
“We have heard over and over from Sussex County employers that they need workers proficient in welding,” said Guthrie. “Giving students career-focused skills and helping employers is our core mission, and offering this welding course is another way to prepare students for their future.”
The board of education gave approval to launching the new course at its meeting this week. Starting with a single course will help gauge student interest in a full, three-year career-technical program in welding and fabrication, said Principal John Demby.
“This course has significant support from industry, which needs trained, experienced people with skills,” said Demby. “It enhances our offerings in related technical areas and improves our students’ experience by adding another professional certification to their toolbox.”
The number of jobs in the welding field in Delaware will grow by 6.6% through 2026, state data shows.
Dona Troyer, Sussex Tech’s career and technical education coordinator, said she has been hearing from businesses in need of welders since she began working with students on work-based learning assignments in the community.
“There is a clear need for graduates with these skills,” said Troyer. “Our students already graduate with professional, industry-standard certifications, and this will be another to add to their resume.”
Sussex Tech students in the related technical areas beginning with the Class of 2023 can take the course in their sophomore, junior or senior years, and can complete the first level of the American Welding Society’s certificate program. The course will share existing equipment and facilities with the welding apprenticeship program run in the evenings by Sussex Tech’s Adult Education Division, keeping costs low.
For more, visit sussexvt.org.