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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 raising 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 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, oxy fuel 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.