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College: Black river Technical College, pocahontas, ark. Commercial diving academy, Jacksonville, fla. HigH sCHool: Valley View High school, Jonesboro, ark.
How did you get interested in your career? Wesley: I wanted to travel, get away from home and have new experiences in life.
An article on underwater welding sounded interesting. I had never touched a welding machine in my life until I went to technical college, but it turns out I was good at it.
What kind of training and education did you need to get this job? Wesley: After technical college, where I got my topside weld- ing certificate, I worked as a welder for awhile to gain experi- ence and improve my skills. I also took a recreational diving course to make sure I liked it. Then I enrolled in a commercial diving school.
What do you like most about your job? Wesley: When I’m in the water welding, it’s another world. There’s no one down there telling you what to do or looking over your shoulder. I like the freedom and the traveling. My work takes me all over the world. I never know for sure on Mon- day morning where I might be on Friday. This week I’ll be back in Curaçao installing a 55-ton rudder we removed from a ship a few weeks ago so it could be repaired topside. There’s always drama and excitement in my job.
Why is your job important? Wesley: Being able to fix a problem underwater can be an advantage. We often make emergency repairs on cruise ships, for example. We fix the problem while the ship is in port, so the cruise can continue and vacations aren’t interrupted.
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College: Uintah Basin applied Technology College, vernal, utah HigH sCHool: Uintah High school, vernal, utah
How did you get interested in your career? sara: My dad has a metal recycling business. I’ve been work- ing for him since I was eight years old doing scrap-yard stuff. That experience led me to take welding in high school.
My welding instructor encouraged me to enter competi- tions. I started locally and last year got all the way to the nationals. Competing pushed me to learn more and taught me how to work under pressure and how to work with others. Competition lets you show what you know, but also what you need to work on.
What kind of training and education did you need to get this job? sara: At technical college I did 600 certified hours of welding and learned lots of different processes. I intended to go to col- lege, but when I spent a week on campus I decided it wasn’t right for me. The military always interested me, just because I wanted to serve. So I sat down with a recruiter, and it became a question of when, not if, I would go.
What is a typical day like in your job? sara: We muster at 6 a.m., go to physical training and then have classes. Those courses have included basic engineering, welding, brazing, mechanics, plumbing and firefighting. The Navy assumes everyone knows nothing, so you start with the basics.
What are your future career plans? sara: I enlisted for four years, and I have been assigned to Japan, which was one of my top choices. But it really did not matter where I would be stationed, because wherever I’m stationed it is on a ship that goes everywhere.
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College: florence darlington Technical College, darlington, s.c. HigH sCHool: Hannah Pamplico High school, pamplico, s.c.
How did you get interested in your career? Tiffany: I’ve never been book smart, but I’ve always been good with my hands. I like crafts. In high school I took auto mechanics and could change a brake drum faster than anyone. Even though my dad and uncle are welders, I never thought of being one.
It was my grandmother’s idea. She read about the in- creased demand for welders. At first I dismissed the idea, but I was working in a clothing store then, and I knew I didn’t want to do that forever. So I tried a welding class.
What’s a typical day like in your job? Tiffany: I’m working at a powerplant in Maryland right now. Every morning we start with a safety meeting. There are a lot of hazards on a jobsite, a lot going on. You need to be alert and aware, or you can get hurt. After that, we grab our tools and go do our assignment.
What do you like most about your job? Tiffany: Seeing the end product, knowing I made it, is a big deal to me. The fact that the work is different every day keeps my attention. I like the physical challenge, too. Often you’re carrying 25-30 pounds of equipment up steps or scaffolding. You need a lot of strength.
Why is your job important? Tiffany: I think a lot of people don’t realize how many ev- eryday things are welded. I didn’t until I started doing it. Now when I go into a restaurant or a store, I’m always noticing the welds everywhere.
College: nasCar Technical institute, mooresville, n.c. HigH sCHool: francis scott Key High school, union bridge, md.
What’s a typical day like in your job? justin: I work in the shop during the week, but on weekends I’m one of seven people on a nationwide pit crew on the NASCAR circuit.
During the week in the shop we rebuild the fleet of cars pretty much from the ground up for the next weekend’s race.We change the engine, service the suspension, fix any damage to the chassis and do any welding or fabrication that’s necessary.
Why is your job important? justin: Pit stops are a critical part of the race. My performance is important to the team.
What do you like most about your job? justin: Going to the races every weekend! I love the competition, trying to outperform the other guys as a team.
What kind of training and education did you need to get this job? justin: Most of my training was hands-on. Growing up in Pennsyl- vania, I worked in my dad’s auto mechanic shop. I started weld- ing when I was 12 or 13. In high school I studied mechanics at the vocational-technical center. I was always drag racing. After gradu- ation, I headed for North Carolina and found a job building small race cars, which I continued to do while I was going to the NASCAR Technical Institute.
What advice do you have for young people who are considering this career? justin: Ninety-nine percent of NASCAR teams are in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Move down there if you can and get started with a minor- league team. It’s good experience because the teams are small, so each person has more responsibility.
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