Skip to content

Episode 74: Sparks Fly When Superintendent Visits Welding Class Celebrating CTE Month

February is CTE Month, a time to celebrate the value, achievements and accomplishments of Career and Technical Education programs across the country including right here in Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey celebrates CTE month by visiting one of 25 Career and Technical Education classes offered at JATC North and JATC South.

Listen to the sparks fly when Dr. Godfrey gears up and finds out what it takes to learn the art of welding from students in the welding program.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. February is CTE month, a time to celebrate the value, achievements and accomplishments of career and technical education programs across the country, including right here in Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, we celebrate CTE month by visiting one of the 25 career and technical education classes offered at two locations in the District at JATC North and JATC South. Listen to the sparks fly when I gear up and get an up close and personal lesson on what it takes to learn the art of welding from students in our welding program.

We're here in the welding class at JATC South with teacher Blair Jensen. Tell me a little bit about what just happened.

Blair:
You just had everybody clocked out at the end of the class.

Anthony Godfrey:
I've never seen that happen. Yeah, I did.

Blair:
So, I run my welding shop as close to an actual welding shop as I can. The main focus in this place is on career centers on building soft skills. And so clocking out, or you might've heard me talking about, then signing up for a job next week. When we have days that we're working in the shop, they also have jobs that they have to do in addition to their welding duties. It's teaching them some of the career focus that they would have in a welding shop. Things like maintaining cleanliness, observing safety standards, and just making sure that they're building those career skills that their future employers are going to be looking for.

Anthony Godfrey:
In addition to the welding skills they're learning in the class, it sounds like there's a lot beyond just welding that they get to experience. And they come out ready to work, not just with the skills, but ready to be a great worker.

Blair:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Like I said, career skills I think is my main focus. As I talked to people in industry, a lot of them will tell me we can teach them to weld. If you can get them to where they can run a bead and they can analyze their defects, we can teach them and certify them for what we need. But the things that they struggle to get kids to learn, that they need to be learning while they're in high school, are those soft skills. They need to be learning to show up on time, to treat their coworkers with respect, to communicate with their coworkers and their managers, learning all the stuff that goes into the welding, the blueprint, reading the map, that's all very valuable.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see a group of students over here. This looks like a crew that you want to have on your side. I noticed that all of footwear is much more durable than mine. I look like I'm about to walk the mall before it opens in the morning, and you guys look like you're ready for action. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Skylar Stephenson.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Skyler, why are you taking welding?

Student:
I took welding because I thought it was cool. I've always watched YouTube videos on it and thought, I want to do that someday. So I decided to take this when I found out about it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now that you're taking the class, what do you think of it?

Student:
I think it's super fun and it's a good experience. It teaches you more than just welding, how to show up on time and how to treat your coworkers, right? Like Blair was saying.

Anthony Godfrey:
So has this class changed you?

Student:
I think it has in a good way. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Parker Vance.

Anthony Godfrey:
What made you want to be a welder?

Student:
When I was young, my uncle always welded around me and I found it quite cool. So I decided to do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name.

Student:
My name is Forest Curtis.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what are some of the things you've made?

Student:
So right now I'm actually working on a sculpture. I'm shaping metal and cutting it with a Oxycutting torch.

Anthony Godfrey:
What does an Oxycutting torch do besides cut, obviously?

Student:
You can cut with an Oxycutting torch or you can weld with it or braze, anything that's involved with high heat or amalgam.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're going to find out how little I know about welding. What does brazing mean?

Student:
So brazing is joining two pieces of metal that don't quite coincide. So like steel and brass or aluminum and steel.

Anthony Godfrey:
Did the skills that you learned here transfer, you being comfortable using tools that aren't necessarily related to welding?

Student:
Yeah. So any large tools, power tools, just anything that's you seem uneasy when you first see it. I'm more comfortable working with that now.

Anthony Godfrey:
Awesome. I do have to admit coming in here, it's pretty daunting. I don't know how to use any of this stuff. It's all very unfamiliar. Maybe you felt that way coming in, but it sounds like you made a lot of progress.

Student:
Yeah, I feel comfortable. Tell me your name.

Student:
My name's Taylor.

Anthony Godfrey:
Would you tell us what made you want to take welding?

Student:
I've always been interested in welding and I just want a good solid trade that I can have a lot of dropout opportunities with when I get out of high school.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think the trades are in demand more than ever. And it's great that you're pursuing that. Your name?

Student:
My name is Tyler Hayward.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you know what you need to do after this program to be prepared to be a welder?

Student:
Well, there's a couple of options. My plan is currently, my brother is working at a welding shop and so he's trying to set me up with an interview there. So I'm going to go try and work there and just work my way up, start at the bottom, go up. Or I could continue and go to an another welding program and continue my skills and learning and become a better welder from here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sounds like a great plan. Tell me your name.

Student:
Zach Smith.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Zach, why did you want to be in this class?

Student:
I had a friend that was in this class last year and he had real high praises of the class and Blair. And my grandpa's a welder too, and he introduced me to it. So I was really interested and thought it'd be a great opportunity to make chances for a career in the future.

Anthony Godfrey:
And with your grandpa being a welder, have you tried welding at all before this class?

Student:
Not before this class now? I wasn't able to touch his stuff.

Anthony Godfrey:
Has he let you touch his stuff since you've gotten some experience?

Student:
Yeah. Now I got some training, he lets me use his equipment.

Anthony Godfrey:
So he must be pretty proud that you're pursuing that.

Student:
Yeah. Yeah. It's really cool thing to just have something else to talk about it, with them and bond with them.

Anthony Godfrey:
So tell me your name.

Student:
I'm Troy Daley.

Anthony Godfrey:
Troy, why are you taking welding?

Student:
I'm taking welding because there have been multiple times where my family's had to have something welded, like a jack on the trailer, things like that. We've had to take it to neighbors and I've always been fascinated with it. No one in my family has welded, so I wanted to learn a new skill that could potentially lead to job opportunities.

Anthony Godfrey:
So when there's a need in your family, Hey, we need to do this. I liked the way you described that. We've always had to have someone else do it. It sounds like you like to be able to do things for yourself.

Student:
I do. I do enjoy doing things. I've always like working on cars and stuff like that. I've enjoyed doing stuff like that. So welding is another thing to add to that.

Anthony Godfrey:
So when there's something that you need done, your first thought isn't, who can I get to do this, but how can I figure out how to do this myself?

Student:
Exactly. I've always watched YouTube videos or tried to figure it out myself.

Anthony Godfrey:
What have you welded that you've really enjoyed welding?

Student:
You know, my brother had a light holder for his boat trailer that fell off and I was able to bring it in and weld that up for him, get that fixed.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're going to be a very popular family member for a very long time I think.

Student:
I hope so.

AnthonyGodfrey:
You guys tell me about the soft skills that your teacher talked about, being to work on time, being able to work with other people well, being reliable, working hard. Tell me about learning those skills in this class.

Student:
There is a big emphasis on stuff like that. He makes sure that we learn we need to be on time and wear the proper safety equipment and be nice to fellow employees and stuff like that. And if not, we do have the chance of getting fired and that's like a good motivation for us. And that really teaches us that in real life and in real workplaces, real mistakes have real consequences.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great lesson to learn so early in life. And it's going to benefit you a lot. What is it like to get fired in class?

Student:
I wasn't wearing my safety glasses and that is one of the big important things that Blair stresses is wearing your safety glasses.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see.

Student:
And I wasn't wearing them, so I got fired. So I had to do my job that he's talked about. I had to do that for a week without getting paid for it beause we get paid for our jobs. And then we have to pay shop rent at the end of the week or at the end of the month, right? And if you don't make, if you get fired, you may not be able to make enough money to pay that as a grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm blown away. This is exactly what education is supposed to be about. These lifelong lessons that are going to stay with you.

Stay with us. When we come back, more on this program, preparing students for successful careers and the creativity that goes into welding.

Break:
If you're ready to start your child on the path to personalized learning, we are ready to help. The Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is coming to Jordan School District in the 2021-22 school year. Three new schools will be opening as part of the Academy; Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School and Kings Peak High School. Each school will have their own principal and teachers and each will give students a choice in their own learning. The schools will offer synchronous learning, which is teachers providing real time, live, online instruction and asynchronous learning where teachers provide videotaped instruction for learning on a student's schedule. To register your student in the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, visit http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your Christmas project.

Student:
So we had to design and make a prototype that would be further judged to see which one would go into production, that we could sell to raise money for the class. And my group, we decided to build mini Santas out of horseshoes. And it was actually really fun because it was challenging. We had to figure out how certain things would go and then we kind of tweaked it as we went. We added some glasses made out of like filler rod that we had, just to make it look more like Santa. And then in another challenge we had that was really fun was when we were painting it. We kind of made a mess everywhere and then we had to scrape the floor and clean it all up. But it was really fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
What I love about that is it's not just about acquiring skills. There's a high level of creativity. Do you feel like that there's a high level of creativity in the welding that you do?

Student:
Yeah, definitely. Most of our projects, all of our Christmas decor projects that we've had to do. Blair had completed the lessons, then we had to come up with our own ideas, all of our dimensions and planning out specifically and then go to our team members and work with them and to use their creative ideas to build on it. So there's definitely a lot of creative, critical thinking that goes into all of our projects. We sold more than we needed to and it was really good. It was trying, but we were able to fill out all the orders on time too.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's one thing to make things the sales. It's another to fill them and say, Oh wow, we really do have this demand. Let's crank these out. So well done. What would you say to someone who's considering taking this class?

Student:
I'd say, don't worry about not being good at it at first. That's the whole point of taking it is to learn. Nobody's going to make fun of you for having a bad weld. All we're going to do is tell you what can make it better on top of what he said. I came in this class and I had only welded one time before and I had no idea what I was doing, but luckily we have Blair and he's a great teacher. He'll go through the process with you over and over again until you figure it out and tell you what you're doing wrong and really just give you good constructive criticism on each process. So many times throughout this school year, I've done some of these processes and I can not get them and I'm embarrassed. I don't want to show him these welds because they're horrible, but he shows me what's wrong with them, what I can do to make them better. And my welding and those skills have improved significantly.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that. It's great to hear that. And that's exactly what a great teacher does. And I just admire all of you guys for diving in and learning this. And it sounds like you have some trade and technical skills. That'll carry you through life. A lot of really important life skills that they're just going to be invaluable. So let's see a little demonstration.

Student:
All right. Let's gear up and put on our safety equipment.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's something, everything gets dark. The spark starts. So you start, you start that and that's all you can see. No, not before. That's pretty interesting. So tell me about what you do.

Student:
So first off, I tacked the piece of metal on there. That was that first part when I just did the right little tech and then I created the bead using the filler metal, which most of the base metal with the filler metal. So it isn't just a continuous motion. I did little CS. So that's where you see the leaves in it.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Yeah. And does that strengthen it, putting the little season there?

Student:
Not necessarily. It does make the length of the weld wider, so kind of strengthens it, but it just makes it look better.

Superintendent:
Oh yeah. It's more for appearance. Okay. Yeah. That's beautiful. Perfect speed. He's got great welding in both plates. So it's got good fusion. That's going to be a successful weld.  And is it hot to the touch right now?

Student:
Oh yeah.

Superintendent:
It's funny. Yeah, it doesn't look hard. I'm not going to test it.

Student:
I believe it is. If I go grab my thermometer, I'd say right now, right after welding, it's going to be close to 300 degrees.

Superintendent:
Holy cow! Safety has got to be a central part of class throughout the year. I would suspect number one priority, like Troy was saying earlier in the interview when they were talking about getting fired. Safety glasses for me is number one.

Student:
Yeah. We've got a zero tolerance policy.

Superintendent:
Yeah, it was strange having the mask down. And as soon as the weld starts, everything else gets dark. I've never experienced that before.

Teacher:
Yeah. These kids are spoiled by these auto darkening hoods. That's definitely not how I learned how to weld. I learned with passive lenses that are dark all the time. And so you've got to find what your position is and then drop your hood to weld. And it's going to be dark until you start that arc. And so these auto darkening hoods they bought are a lot nicer because they can drop their hood and they can safely see where everything's at, in position. And so it makes them better.

Superintendent:
Yeah. Guys, this has been dynamite. This is one of my favorites, honestly. I'm so impressed. Great work you guys. And thanks for taking the time. That means a lot to me. I appreciate it.

We're here with Craig Cottle, CTE coordinator and Sonia Burton, the Principal of JTC South. I love this welding program. This is fantastic. I'm overwhelmed. Tell me a little bit more about it.

Sonya:
Oh my gosh. Welding is just an amazing program. Jensen is teaching our students how to weld, but also a future and in welding. He's really preparing them for the workplace and to be an outstanding candidate. I wish I was hiring welders right now because they were the fired, every single one of them.

Superintendent:
Craig, tell me just about the value of a hands-on education like this, learning from someone who's been in the industry.

Craig:
You know, there's a lot of our youth that have a lot of skills, a lot of understanding and knowledge, but a lot of it deals with the use of their hands. These kinds of programs, such as welding, give the students an opportunity to excel in a process and in a program that is fit for them and their desires and their interest in their career paths and the way that they're traveling and wanting to get employed. And so it's really great when we have wonderful teachers that have the skills and abilities, that demand and expect from students, the opportunity. It gives them that opportunity to learn and to strengthen those skills that they need to be employable and to be safe and to be able to enjoy a future in their specific path.

Superintendent:
Great. You know, following a pathway like this and learning a trade may even be a fallback. Even if it isn't the number one. Now, most of these guys want to be welders, but even if you decided you didn't want to be a welder, having a skill like that to fall back on if things don't work out with another job, that you have is very, very valuable.

Craig:
Exactly. I think I could see some of these young men in the design and fabrication place where they could run out of a garage or they could run out of a smaller facility. And like you said, just be able to run a business on the side from another profession or another focus in their life.

Superintendent:
What a wonderful blessing that'd be for them to be able to have their vocation, and have an application that they really, really enjoy and be able to do, thanks for all the work that both of you are doing to make that possible. I love that we have such a wide range of opportunities for students and you're a big part of that. Thank you.

Craig and Sonya:
Thank you so much for your support of CTE.

Superintendent:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. I hope this has sparked an interest in some of our amazing CTE programs across the District. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today.

Show Audio Transcription
Share the Supercast!