High School Students Earn AWS Certifications

Last year’s first class of welders earned a total of 47 American Welding Society (AWS) certifications, with all 16 students earning at least one such certification, and two students receiving 5 certifications. Such certifications are important in the hiring process and can help lead a student to obtain employment.

School in Session

School began for the high school students on August 13, and for the first time, classes are being held in both the morning and afternoon. Students follow the calendar of Knox, which serves as the host school.

Open House Held

An open house for parents and students who are enrolled in the high school class for 2013-14 was held on August 9 at the welding lab. This event gives all parties a chance to see the lab and equipment that will be used, allows them to meet instructors Andy Odle and Matt Matlock, and ask any questions that they might have about the program.

Third Class of Adult Welders Completes Training

Since its inception in August of last year, SCILL has held classes for beginning and advanced adult persons, in addition to its high school program. A total of 41 people have taken the 12-week training course so far, with several using this training to secure employment in the field of welding. The next class for adults is scheduled to begin on September 23, and persons interested should contact SCILL at 574-772-8001 for further details.

Graduation Held for Welding Students

Eight graduates of the initial year of the Welding Technology program were honored at graduation ceremonies held in mid-May. All 8 students plan on furthering their knowledge and training in welding, with some going on to technical schools, while others have continued to take SCILL advanced welding classes. A total of $2,500 was awarded to graduates to help defray the costs of further education.

Local student wins district 13 American Welding Society (AWS) Scholarship

Kathlynn Sufus

A 2013 Knox High School graduate, Katlynn Surfus, has been selected as this year’s winner of the District 13 American Welding Society (AWS) Welding Scholarship. District 13 encompasses the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. Katlynn graduated from the Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Leaning (SCILL) vocational welding program in May, after earning 4 AWS welding certifications. She applied for the scholarship through the AWS website and is the first recipient of this scholarship from Indiana. She will be putting that scholarship to good use in August as she will be attending Ohio Technical College (OTC) in Cleveland, Ohio to further her welding education. She has been using the days between high school graduation and entering OTC by taking an advanced welding program at SCILL this summer. In addition, Katlynn will be competing at the Indiana State Fair in August after having been crowned as 4-H Junior Leader Achievement Royalty at the recently held Starke County 4H Fair.

When asked about the scholarship she stated, “Andy Odle (SCILL Welding Instructor) taught me so much in just one year. I went from knowing nothing about welding to falling in love with welding and wanting to make it my career. Jerry Gurrado (SCILL Coordinator of Student Services and Programs) has encouraged all of us to reach for our dreams and to apply for anything that is available in the way of scholarship help. I applied back in March and I was thrilled when I was contacted about being the winner.”

The SCILL vocational welding program began in August of 2012 in Knox, Indiana with an opening class of 16, all of whom finished the one year program. All 16 students received at least one AWS certification, and the class as a whole earned 47 such certifications. In addition, all 16 students received 11 hours of college credit from Vincennes University while still enrolled in high schools from 4 different school corporations in 3 counties. The program was developed by a committee of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation as a means of providing workforce skills to meet an acute need for welders, not only in Starke County, but also in the area, and nationally.

Full Press Release

SCILL director makes presentation to Knox Community School Board

SCILL Director Jerry Gurrado made a presentation concerning the new welding program at an October meeting of the Knox Community School Board. The Board and Superintendent A.J. Gappa were instrumental in allowing the use of a portion of the Middle School for the new welding lab.

New welding lab opened

An open house for the new welding lab will be held on November 28, 2012. Members of the public are invited to come see the new welding lab and have any questions answered. The event will be held from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with a short program at approximately 5:30.

SCILL staff present at Starke County Industrial Breakfast

The Starke County Industrial Breakfast, sponsored by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, had their quarterly breakfast meeting at the new welding lab, during which there were presentations from SCILL Director Jerry Gurrado and Welding Instructor Andy Odle. Participants were able to tour the lab and classroom areas and look at some of the projects the students have been working on so far.

Beginning welding student welcomes addition to family

Adult beginning welding student Keith Nance and his fiancée are celebrating the birth of their first child.

Welding student of the month announced

Isaac Haimbaugh of Culver High School was named the first-ever student-of-the-month for the new vocational welding program.

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