SHS partners with Ivy Tech for welding certification program

Seymour High School will add to its growing skilled-trade curriculum next school year after trustees recently approved the purchase of welding equipment.

The corporation approved a $151,451.07 contract for the equipment with Indiana Oxygen Co. in Seymour for a two-year welding certification program. Lincoln Electric Co. of Indianapolis also submitted a bid for $198,224.73.

The equipment includes 10 welders, foot amptrols, gas valve head torches, fume extraction arms and other equipment to begin the program in the 2019-20 school year. The courses will be housed in the school’s new agriculture building where agriculture classes began earlier this school year.

Assistant Principal Talmadge Reasoner described the program as a “big move” for the school as it partners with Ivy Tech Community College for the program.

“Trades are a big thing for us because for the last 20 years, we’ve been telling kids if they didn’t go to college that they haven’t done so well,” he said. “We all know that’s just not true because there are a lot of skilled people in our schools that want to go into the skilled-trade jobs.”

Students interested in welding have attended C4 Columbus Area Career Connection for some time, but Reasoner said they will now be able to offer their own program at Seymour.

He said with dual credit options, it’s an even better advantage for those enrolled in the program. That means students will spend an hour less each day not riding on the bus.

“They come out with the knowledge and skills but not the certificate in C4,” Reasoner said.

It also saves $500 per student to keep them in Seymour, Reasoner said, even after the certification fee.

“Their instruction time will literally double,” he said.

Three students already have completed their first year of the welding program at C4, and that work will count toward the two-year certification, Reasoner said.

Nine students are already signed up for the program next school year. They will be bused to the center each period, Reasoner told trustees.

“I think by the time school starts, we will have 16,” he said, adding that would be the program’s capacity at this time.

Reasoner said it also fills the gap local employers are looking for with skilled positions. He said recent discussion with a local manufacturer showed the company had skilled positions open for lengths of time, and in some case, years.

Those opportunities could lead to another potential benefit to the program, Reasoner said, and that’s keeping students in the community following their graduation.

“We want to keep them here and working with our local businesses,” he said.

The program also gives the school an opportunity to offer certification programs to the community through Ivy Tech, which is part of its long-term plan.

But Reasoner said he is excited to see that the school continues to offer skilled-trade curriculum to students. The school offers manufacturing, diesel apprenticeships, certified nursing programs, construction, cosmetology and more.

“I think one of the neat things about Seymour Community Schools is that for a small community in rural southern Indiana, we tend to kind of be on the leading edge when it comes to new programs and new educational opportunities for our students,” Reasoner said. “This is one more opportunity to continue in that same theme.”