Four recent graduates from the Delaware Area Career Center’s welding program were recently selected to start four-year apprenticeships at a local business.
Reese Cramer, a Buckeye Valley High School graduate; Cole Benjamin, an Olentangy Orange High School graduate; Jacob Bruning, a Delaware Hayes High School graduate; and Noah Feeney, an Olentangy Liberty High School graduate, just finished studying in the welding program at the Delaware Area Career Center and will be taking part in a four-year apprenticeship at Vaughn Industries, a local contractor.
Welding instructor Bradley DeMent said the apprenticeship for his former students came about because the DACC already had a relationship with Vaughn.
“Vaughn Industries, along with many other employers, comes in every year to speak to our students regarding the opportunities that are available to them,” DeMent said. “Once they come in, it’s up to the students to contact the company and set up an interview. Vaughn only host interviews for the apprenticeship program once a year, and the students are guaranteed a first interview.”
DeMent said that though he and the career center help students get their foot in the door, students themselves are responsible for their own success.
“I always tell the students that it’s a great career opportunity to get your foot into the industry with a great company,” DeMent said. “Once they get to the first, second and third interviews, it’s all on the students. I am more of a cheerleader because it’s out of my hands and the opportunity is directly placed into the students.”
DeMent added the students will be working in the mechanical division at Vaughn and will learn a lot during their time with the company.
“They will be learning tricks of the trade regarding sheet metal fabrication and/or pipefitting,” DeMent said. “Other things will be construction worksite safety, crane operation and rigging, custom fabrication, and layout, just to name a few.”
DeMent said that one of the things he focuses on in his welding program is that welding is a doorway to several types of careers.
“Welding is a career path, but there are so many career paths within the welding umbrella,” DeMent said. “There isn’t a direct road that everybody takes to get to their destination, and what’s what I like about the welding industry. There are different welding processes, different metals that get welded, there is construction, manufacturing, custom fabrication, automation, and inspection, just to name a few. These students are exposed and knowledgeable about all these different pathways so when industry leaders come in and highlight the opportunities within their company, students really know and understand if that is the path they want to pursue.”
DeMent said he holds the welding students to a high standard in class, which sets them up for success in a professional setting.
“Students in the program leave high school and they are poised to be successful at whatever path they choose: college, military or work,” he said. “They understand what it takes to be a good employee and really succeed in the workforce, because that is what they have been preparing and practicing for the past two years. They might not have the work experience due to being young, but they have a solid foundation that puts them ahead of their peers that didn’t train at the career center.”
Feeney said he’s excited for the apprenticeship and excited to “work alongside and learn from an experienced skilled worker in my trade.”
“I feel like I have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to work and earn money while learning at the same time,” he said.
Feeney added he’s thankful for the training that DeMent gave him.
“I feel like the DACC has prepared me to enter the welding work force,” Feeney said. “I have learned a trade that will give me an opportunity to live a good life, and they have also prepared me to be a good hard worker. I have always loved working with my hands and building things. I have learned a lot in high school, but if I hadn’t been a part of the welding program at the DACC, I definitely wouldn’t have been hired by Vaughn Industries.”
Feeney added that being part of the program made him feel like he has an advantage over others who are applying for the same jobs because of the certifications he earned at the DACC.
Benjamin added he is likewise looking forward to gaining new skills and abilities on the job. He went on to say he learned “a lot of skills” in the welding lab, and DeMent taught more than just technical skills.
“We took a lot of time on interviewing skills, communication skills, workplace etiquette, and a lot of soft skills that are needed to be in the real world,” Benjamin said. “None of which I would’ve had or known what to do without being in the class. Also, I’ve been given the opportunity for many job offers from fantastic companies. Brad DeMent is a great teacher, and my life would be completely different if I never went into his class.”
DeMent said the apprenticeship is a good opportunity to learn and make money, adding the starting pay is around $17 an hour, and the recent high school graduates will conclude their time at Vaughn making more than $30 an hour.
“I am happy to be working with great partners like Vaughn and excited that my students take ownership in their future by taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them that will pay off right after graduation,” DeMent said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.