Weld Shop A.M. Students Build Prop Door for Local Fire Department

The Weld Shop a.m. students built a metal prop door for use in training at the Hoffman Heights Fire Department. The door is meant to simulate breaking into a locked and bolted door. Instructor Jeff Oliver had his students practice their welding skills by participating in this project for the Hoffman Heights Fire Department and completing some community service credit as well as raise money for their next Skills USA competition, which tests the professional skills of students across the country. Pickens Technical College has long been involved in this regional and nationwide competition, sending various other classes and groups to the events throughout the year.

Jeff Oliver teaches his students how to be successful as a professional welder. He has twenty-four years of experience in the professional welding industry and is a member of the American Welding Society. Oliver has been teaching welding at Pickens for twelve years. Oliver’s course includes comprehensive training in blueprint reading for welders and fitters, oxyfuel and plasma cutting, oxyacetylene welding, maintenance welding, and more. Probably the most important skill that Oliver emboldens his students with, however, is how to find work in this industry and wield their new skills in their new career.

PTC has long been about reaching out to the community in as many ways as possible. From participating in professional competitions to recruiting new students and teachers from all backgrounds, PTC loves getting its students and instructors out of the classroom and helping the community. A single prop door might be a small contribution, but by partnering with a local fire department and forging connections with the community, PTC and its instructors prepare students for life outside the classroom.

As a result of the great work that Oliver and his class of welders, the Hoffman Heights Fire Department has a new door with which to train future firefighters, a useful project that an organization tasked with keeping its constituents safe can use in their mission. Through his community outreach and his commitment to teaching his students the skills they need, Jeff Oliver is preparing his students for careers in pipe welding, fabrication, structural welding, and metal welding. They are already well on their way to making a difference in their community and, more importantly, learning that their skills can make a difference in their community and the world overall.

New Year, New Start

Classes start again soon at Pickens Technical College and while you might not need to be reminded of that fact, the time to start preparing for your new quarter and a new year is now. New Year’s Day offers the opportunity for all of us to look back on the year that was and try to make improvements for Earth’s next trip around the sun. If you’re like me, these (small) improvements are difficult to make and stay consistent with for two weeks after New Year’s Day, let alone for a whole year, but let’s leave the weight goals and the cigarette quitting alone for now and focus on how to make your next quarter at PTC as productive as possible.

Everyone has a few skills that they need to work on to be a better professional. For me, it’s curbing the run-on sentences, falling in love with commas and parentheses and colons and—never mind. For others, it’s struggling to bake that perfect crust at altitude, or replacing car brakes in a fast-enough time. Don’t beat yourself up over your weaknesses and let them form clots of anxiety in your mind, work to make your weaknesses your strengths. This may mean some extracurricular practice and some trial and error, but almost any field that you’re planning on getting into after you graduate from PTC will involve some extra, off-hours work, at least at first. It’s a new year, which means you have an excuse to start making changes in your work and study habits that will benefit you in the coming quarter at PTC and beyond.

PTC also has immense resources for students to find the job they’re looking for after graduation. When you get back to school, take a moment to drop by the Career Services office if for no other reason than to show your face and get to know some of the great staffers there. They can help you find prospects for after you graduate and if you’re extra nice to them, you can use them as references when you’re running around town handing out resumes. The Career Services staff works directly with employers who love to bring in fresh PTC students because of their unique qualifications and experience. They are always looking for new opportunities for you. Make a New Year’s resolution to visit them early and often to get a start on finding the job of your dreams.

So, this New Year’s, make all the resolutions you need to improve your life, as always (or just fudge it like I do), but also make sure to take advantage of all the resources that PTC and its classrooms and instructors have to offer. You have a responsibility to make the most of your PTC experience. There are plenty of people around you who are there to help you at PTC, but if you don’t take the initiative and improve your work in the classroom as well as your prospects outside of it, you won’t get the most out of your time (and money) at PTC.