UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- It's no secret that jobs are hard to come by these days.
But Region 12 in Waco kicked-off its Generation Texas Month Wednesday, which is designed to help students get ready for college or the work force.
And this time, it featured a career sure to meld students into the right job, at the right time.
"We have a real shortage of welders in our industry, and the only way we're going to be able to grow this industry is to get the word out that they're are viable options in this field," Bryan Parson, Manager with Matheson Gas in Waco said.
That's right, welding. About 400 students from 15 schools came to learn about this metal craft.
With an average base salary of $35,000 a year, to over $200,000 if you take the skill underwater. And teachers in Central Texas are preparing their students for what lies after graduation.
"We're always looking for ways to get students and put them in a career path and find something that they would like to do... if you can use a stick welder and run a cutting torch very well you can make a living on your own," Robinson agriculture science teacher Mark Rose said.
This event has helped teachers give their students a feel for industry standards and equipment, and a closer look at what the job entails.
"They need to go out and see and touch and feel what the industry is bringing to them, see if it's the field of choice that they'd like to go into," Marlin High School agriculture teacher Joy Rogerson said.
"Coming here, they have a lot of new technology that most people haven't got a chance to see yet, and it just gives us all the opportunity to come and see things in the field of welding... it's just real interesting," Marlin High School student Tyler Grams said.
And if a student wanted to test the welding waters, there was something for them too.
One of the perks of coming to an event like this, is the students get a virtual welding experience, and what's better than hands on?
"We had several of them that put their hands on that virtual reality welder that had never welded before, they didn't even know they had it in them... he may have not cared in class before, but now he's got a new outlook," Parson said.
Even if welding wasn't for them, it was certainly a field trip the students won't forget.