MVHS Launches Welding Certification Classes

MVHS Welding Class

Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS) again is demonstrating its flexibility in preparing students for success by moving quickly to offer learning opportunities that match students’ interests to career opportunities. Even when that means building a program requiring sophisticated infrastructure and instruction over the course of one summer.

Last year, realizing that student interest in health science careers far exceeded the number of students actually preparing for these jobs, Mt. Vernon recruited key community partners and brought a Health Sciences I program to our own campus. All 15 students successfully passed their Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) state exams for a 100-percent success rate.

This year, an additional section was added to the Health Science program for second-year students, who will have externships with Hancock Regional Hospital and will complete the program as Certified Clinical Medical Assistants (CCMA). 

This fall, students are benefitting from a similar effort in welding instruction. As a result, dozens of MVHS students will graduate with knowledge and skills that are in high demand and are well paid throughout central Indiana.Welding facilities in MVHS

By once again finding and working with industry partners, Mt. Vernon High School pulled out all the stops over the summer to transform an underutilized space into a modern welding lab. The result is a state-of-the-art space in which students will receive training and earn 12 Ivy Tech College dual credits and American Welding Society (AWS) certifications that will launch well-paying careers close to home.

Updating the lab in such a short time required extensive planning, removing a partition wall, cleaning and painting, dropping a complex maze of wiring and conduits, installing LED lighting, building 12 welding booths and installing a safe, exterior distributor to feed gas lines - all governed by a single shutoff valve to enhance safety.

While finishing touches are still being applied, the welding lab is up and running. Teacher Jason Wiley already is introducing 24 students to skills that will lead to solid career opportunities. Students will be able to take four courses, all offering dual credit with Ivy Tech. 

By completing Mt. Vernon’s welding course sequence, students can earn an American Welding Society SENSE specialized welding certificate, indicating to prospective employers their readiness to learn and work and creating a potential advantage for graduates in both pay and job security. 

Picture of welding facilityStudents also can earn an OSHA 10 card, proving to employers that they completed 10 hours of OSHA-authorized training on critical workplace safety topics. Entry-level workers with this credential have industry-specific knowledge and skills that help prevent injuries and keep workplaces safe and productive.

The new welding booths enable students to learn shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding. In the second and capstone year of the two-year welding program, students will be eligible for internships and apprenticeships that will give them a further boost toward earning their place in the workforce once they graduate.

Community partnerships were again key in expanding this opportunity for students. Assistant Principal Stan Wilkison worked closely with the J. Everett Light Career Center, which serves 13 central Indiana schools. Mt. Vernon High School also has received assistance from Lincoln Electric, Awning Innovations, Lennox, the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, and Fortville Feeders. This welding opportunity for students would not be possible without the partnership of these community members.

Image of welding roomWhile the lab is operational, MVHS still has a wish list and is still seeking grants and business partners to add even more state-of-the-art features. Business sponsorships are available. Local businesses can partner in an array of levels, such as serving as a guest speaker, serving on the advisory board, accepting student interns or investing financially via booth sponsorship. MVHS’s goal is to have each booth sponsored with an LED signage to recognize the local business.  Any type of support would greatly benefit the program and its students.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or in receiving more information about the program may contact Stan Wilkison by email - or by phone at 317.485.3131, Ext. 1788. 

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