TERRE HAUTE —
While many high school students struggle to figure out a career, Kevin Adams has known for a long time exactly what he wants to do.
“Since I was a little kid, I’ve loved welding,” said the Terre Haute North Vigo High School senior. “I welded with my dad out in the garage.”
At North, he’s pursued the welding technology program, or “career pathway,” and he hopes to have an industry certification soon.
Recently, his welding teacher, Tim Edler, asked Adams if he wanted to work part-time at a Terre Haute company, Mercer Technologies, as part of a co-op opportunity. “I wanted to do it, like right away,” Adams said.
His first day at the company was Monday. “I’m pretty excited, definitely, because [welding] is something I want to do and make a career out of it.”
It’s not unusual for the Vigo County School Corp. to receive calls from manufacturers looking for co-op students or potential employees in high-demand areas, said Doug Dillion, director of career-technical education.
Often, companies will keep the co-op students on staff after graduation, Dillion said, and help pay for additional education.
Adams’ future plans include Ivy Tech and continued studies at a school in Ohio that specializes in welding. His long-term goal is to do underwater welding, such as fixing oil rigs and boats, or working on buildings such as skyscrapers.
Machining and electronics classes round out Adams’ career-technical training at North, where the programs have prepared him well for his future career, Adams said.
Edler described the co-op as a great opportunity for Adams, who will be able to take what he’s learned in the classroom and apply it in the workplace.
Adams “comes to school and he works, and that’s half the battle right there. He’s never been late to class. That’s the kind of kid I like to send out,” Edler said.
Edler appreciates the growing realization that not every student needs to attend a four-year college.
Students can be successful by pursuing a career pathway in high school and additional postsecondary technical training. “Any postsecondary education is good,” Edler said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.