New Student Spotlight: Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson
Natalie Johnson

Welding Tech major awarded $2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship

Natalie Johnson, 18, will graduate from John F. Kennedy High School in the Class of 2019. Natalie is set to begin her studies in the Welding Technology program at Dakota County Technical College fall semester 2019 with the goal to earn her diploma and become a professional welder.

Joining a wave of new students enrolling at Minnesota State colleges for fall semester 2019, Natalie received a $2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship. Minnesota State started the scholarship program in fall 2018 as a way to work with business and industry partners to supplement student scholarships in high-demand career fields.

DCTC students admitted to select manufacturing, healthcare and information technology programs offering an associate degree, diploma or certificate are eligible to receive a Workforce Development Scholarship.

“I really appreciate the scholarship,” Natalie said. “The funds will help pay for my schooling and pave the way to my career in the welding field.”

Words that describe you as a new college student:

Natalie chose DCTC because she heard the college had good programs. She will be working while going to school as a dietary aide at the Minnesota Masonic Home. She played volleyball for two years at Kennedy. As of now, she is undecided regarding what extracurricular activities she will pursue at DCTC.

She has one sister, Emma, 20, who works as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). In her free time, Natalie enjoys hanging out with her friends and watching new releases on Netflix, especially comedies and action movies. She resides with her parents in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Weld or join metal pieces together using hand-welding, flame-cutting, or brazing tools.


Above the statewide median of $20.07/hour.


Median: $20.94/hour
High: $24.90/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $22.24/hour
High: $26.80/hour


This career is currently in very high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 6.8 percent. There will be a need for about 11,037 new Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

More about the Welding Technology program…

The Welding Technology program at DCTC offers a variety of training in different welding processes specific to our trade. You will gain knowledge through theory in class and hands-on experience in the welding lab.

Major topics and welding processes are covered in this nine-month course to ready you for entry-level positions in the industry. Subjects covered include:

  • Shielded Metal Arc
  • Gas Metal Arc
  • Flux Cored Arc
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Processes
  • Oxy/Fuel
  • Plasma Arc
  • Carbon Air Arc
  • Cutting and Gouging Processes

You will work with a variety of metals, including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Shop fabrication, blueprint reading, math, visual inspection and safety are covered in the curriculum. Learn more…

Natalie Johnson 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Hockey or volleyball
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Italy
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Drove to Montana with my family
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: Buy a house and a yacht
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching right now: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: The Dirt
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life:Get married and have children
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Ruby-throated hummingbird
  9. Dream occupation: Welder
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Playing electric guitar (rock music)
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Poverty and not enough food or water
Learn more about Welding Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Bruce Hartung
Welding Faculty

Byron Emory
Welding Instructor

Blake Goehring
Welding Faculty

Learn more about the DCTC Foundation by contacting:

Michelle Boe, JD
Executive Director of Foundation

Amy Eppen
Foundation Development Director