Sparks flew, bouncing off of a metal table as two pieces of metal were tack welded together as individual welding booths were lit up with the orange glow of those sparks.
As the tack welds were completed, Hamilton High School senior Jersey Ramos lifted the shield on her welders helmet to check her work. Ramos is one of a handful of female students working to break into a male-dominated profession.
“It was very scary at first,” she said. “My friends think I’m pretty ballsy to do it.”
Ramos is part of Impact Institute’s welding program, one of 14 technical education programs offered to students in the four-county area by the Impact Institute, located in Kendallville, IN.
February is Career and Technical Education Month, so Impact Institute is recognizing its students, teachers and programs.
Having dreams of one time becoming an architect, Ramos said her vision changed after that first time in the welding booth.
“I wanted to be an architect, but I thought it would be cooler to be the one building it,” she said. “It is where the money’s at.”
Ramos will be one of a couple hundred graduating seniors who will have technical education certifications allowing them to go directly into the workforce after graduation.
Steps away from the welding shop in another building, East Noble senior Nik Wood worked on buffing out a car bumper.
Wood, who has always had an interest in classic cars, is part of the auto body and collision repair program. After graduation, those students in the program will have the training necessary to enter the workforce as auto body specialists.
During Career and Technical Education Month, Impact Institute Director Jim Walmsley says...