MARIANNA, Fla. Marianna- Josh Tolar told us he had been welding for years. "Inside a peanut picker, whenever I was about 10 years old, dad taught me how to weld," Tolar told us.
He said he welds it mostly for fun, but it was also useful on the farm.
"Welding is a good skill and once you learn it you will have a skill that lasts a lifetime," he said.
It could also mean a lifetime of solid employment in a field that has been in high demand.
"It's not uncommon for a welder to start in the $36,000- $40,000 dollar range," Byron Ward, the Career Coach for the welding program told us. "And, it's still not uncommon for a high-end, high technical welder, such as TIG on stainless steel and aluminum to make $100,000 plus."
That was exactly why Chipola College decided to start a welding program, which, Ward said would include far more than just the basic skills.
"Your typical welding that most people associate now is fixing a broken trailer or farming equipment- things like that," he explained. "That is welding and you will have that knowledge here, but we want to take it a step farther and introduce you to the high skilled high technical welding.We're going to approach it from a different angle where we have the clean lab, and what most people associate with welding. Clean lab is designed to mimic industry standards for high end, high technical welding."
Tolar said he didn't plan on becoming a high-end welder, but he believed it was a great fall back career, and knowledge worth having.
Ward agreed adding, "it's 1170 hours, which takes approximately one year, or two semesters to get through this program. It is an NCCER based certification program, which is an national industry standard.
The welding facility was still under construction, but Ward assured us it would be ready by the time classes began in January.