Lincoln County schools launch welding program
A pilot welding program has come to the Lincoln County School District.
The program is now available for Lincoln County students grades 9-12. With 16 slots, there was only enough room for four students from each campus, and there were more applicants than slots.
The program consists of two parts, with the academic work taking place online and the laboratory work being conducted on Loyd Star’s campus. The students meet each Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Entering the program consisted of an application process, and access was based on grade and need. The students were also required to have their own transportation and gear, along with a complete denim outfit.
LCSD Superintendent David Martin said the timing was right to start the program.
“Because the academic part has to be completed online, we thought this was a good time to start it,” Martin said.
Loyd Star agricultural instructors Billy Sumrall and Jeb McBeth had heard about similar programs and brought their idea to the school board. After being approved, they were chosen to be the program’s instructors.
“It was a good fit for the timing,” Martin said. “We’ll continue looking at this and base other things off this program.”
Once equipment was moved from other campuses and needed items were purchased, the program was started.
“We’re using what we already have in-district,” Martin said. “The board agreed to purchase those items.”
While the county schools already had welding in their agricultural curriculums, this program is different.
“This one’s a bit more intensive,” Martin said. “This is geared more toward welding. Students have the opportunity to earn four industry-recognized certificates: AWS tack welder, sheet welder, filet welder and oxy-fuel welder.”
Martin believes this program will benefit the students in his district.
“I think there’s a good need for it in our area,” Martin said. “Welding is a good career path, it gives them an opportunity to both test the waters and build the skill at the same time. It puts them ahead of the curve.”
He hopes students learn from it and take their skills they learned while in the program to the workforce.
“I hope they find they have an interest in it and maybe even provide a career, where they can provide for themselves and their families in the future.”
Story by Gracie Byrne