Student fuses education and drive to pursue a career
Joe Schulz, 21, of Maplewood, Minn., is all determination when it comes to his education. A 2010 graduate of AFSA High School in Vadnais Heights, Joe was a member of the FIRST Robotics Team his junior and senior years. He looks back on that experience with pride.
“I love the idea that in robotics you get your objective and the rules, but you are free to find a solution in your own way,” he said.
After AFSA, which stands for Academy for Sciences and Agriculture, Joe attended Century College for 18 months, taking general education courses before deciding to check out the Welding Technology program at Dakota County Technical College.
“I was thinking about a career in engineering, but welding offers a faster path to a job,” he said. “I took a welding course at Century, and I liked that everything was so hands-on. I’ve always liked working with my hands. Welding gives you the ability to make or fix anything. Having welding skills offers you independence.”
Joe likes that DCTC is focused on instilling technical skills that lead directly to a career. He is also happy that the Welding Technology program features a new, state-of-the-art lab with the go-to equipment found in a modern, industry-standard welding shop.
“We get a basic introduction into welding,” he said, “and we learn the different welding processes. Our instructors have worked in the industry and that means they can give us inside tips on what it’s like on the job.”
As a student in the Welding Technology program, you acquire the basic skills of the welding trade through in-class theory and hands-on experience in a modern, fully equipped welding lab. A variety of welding processes—shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, flux cored arc and gas tungsten arc—are covered in the nine-month program. You will work with a number of metals, including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Cutting and gouging processes such as oxy/fuel, plasma arc and carbon are underscored in the curriculum. You will also learn exactly what you need to know about shop fabrication, blueprint reading, mathematics, visual inspection and safety. The Welding Technology program leads to a diploma that shows you are prepared for an entry-level position in a range of industries that require welding, including:
- Heavy Fabrication
- Pipe Mill
- Pressure Vessel
- Wind Power
- General Fabrication
- Maintenance & Repair
- Power Generation & Process
- Thermal Energy
Welding Tech Instructor Tim Felch is impressed by Joe’s work ethic and maturity. “Joe is a humble, hardworking individual,” Tim said. “He loves to be here and is determined to make a career in the welding industry. Joe is a model student.”
Joe took his ASME MIG certification test in April 2014. He is set to graduate with his Welding Technology diploma this spring. His career plans are centered on landing a welding technician job right after he graduates.
“I am interested in working in the automotive industry,” he said. “I like the idea of learning how the cars we drive are actually made.”
Joe has one brother in the U.S. Army. When he’s not studying or honing his welding skills, he enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels or playing RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Deus Ex: Human Evolution.
To learn more about the program’s new, state-of-the-art equipment and workspace read “New Lab Area for Welding Technology” in Real Magazine.