In December, Kaskaskia College’s Welding Technology Professor Cory Wellen and Construction Operations Professor Pete Donnelly visited with dual credit trades classes at Central Community High School in Breese. The visit included a donation of two MIG welders and two stick welders to the CHS’s trades’ program.
“Students at Central High School will now have the ability to learn welding skills and take welding tests that can earn them a welding certification,” said Steven Ellis, industrial arts and drafting teacher at CHS. “The goal at CHS is for 100% of our students to be college or career ready at the end of their senior year. With KC’s efforts, we can offer a welding program to accomplish that goal.”
Professors Cory Wellen and Pete Donnelly talked with over 40 students in four different welding and carpentry classes. CHS’s Steven Ellis teaches all of the classes, and he initially approached Wellen about a need for a dual credit trades program for CHS during a high school visit. Wellen and Donnelly discussed the shortage of workers in all of the trades and how many students don’t realize that trades open opportunities into many other careers, including maintenance, mechanic, and hydraulics.
“Welding is a gratifying field that has several good-paying jobs,” said Wellen. “Giving back to schools like CHS is important to introduce students to different occupations and continue relationships that boost local industry.”
“Being able to visit the dual credit classes is an encouragement for me,” said Donnelly. “I can see the enthusiasm in these students, the excitement they experience on discovering how to construct anything and make a finished product.”
“Central High School is extremely appreciative of our partnership with Kaskaskia College. Both of our institutions share a “can do” attitude when it comes to creating new and exciting learning opportunities for students,” said Central Community High Superintendent Dr. Dustin Foutch.
Foutch explained that CHS’s new welding program is a shining example of how positive outcomes can happen when collaboration happens. Foutch expressed gratitude towards KC for advice in designing and implementing the program, plus donating thousands of dollars of equipment to get the program off to a great start.