By Duane Good EDITOR The car or truck you drive, the building in which you work, the computer you type on and even some of the appliances or furniture in your home all have one thing in common – Welding played some kind of role in its creation. It’s a skilled trade, which a young man or woman can enter with a high-school diploma. And the need for younger individuals in the field remains strong and growing. The average welder is 55 years old, and thousands of retirements are expected in the coming decade. The Upper Dauphin Area School District and a local business, Hearth and Home Technologies, have partnered to give high-school students in the Sentinel area an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to help them start a career upon graduation. And their current program, which already leads to employment for students who complete it, is on track to undergo a major expansion for the 2021-22 school year. Already a popular course For several years, UDA has offered two welding-related courses – Basic and Advanced – as part of its Career Technical Education course offerings: Vocational Agriculture, Building Trades and Co-operative Education. Welding was taught by Roy Maurer (now retired) as part of the ag track and proved to be a popular class. According to Maurer, many students went directly to the workforce or into further training at the post-secondary level on the strength of what they learned. In addition, the course ‘‘has garnered attention of other schools that see the need for skilled, hands-on curriculum,’’ added Mark Dietrich, ag science instructor. He noted that Halifax and Millersburg students have transferred to UDA as part-time students to take the courses.
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