Skill Up in Welding

April 6, 2021

Skills pay the bills, or so the popular adage goes. Welding, in one form or another, has been an integral part of the global workforce for more than 2,000 years. While the technology of welding has evolved dramatically since the Iron Age, the need for skilled welders is greater than ever, and guess what – it pays well too!

Three female welders pictured in the welding lab wearing their helmets and safety gear

In 2018 Sophie Barrett (pictured at center) graduated from Blackhawk Tech with her welding degree. Since that time, she’s been searching for the perfect fit for her skills with a local company. Now, happily employed with United Alloy, she’s back to “skill up.”

Her instructors are glad to have her back in the lab. “Sophie is always hardworking, positive, and helpful. She brings a smile to your face every time you talk to her,” said BTC Welding Instructor Bobbi Bishofberger.

Welding is a wide-ranging field with operators learning a little bit about many different processes and procedures. It is, therefore, not unusual for students to come back and focus on specific skills when they’ve settled in a position.

In Sophie’s case, she is back to define her sills in GMAW Pulsed Spray. This pulsed-gas metal arc welding is a newer process in welding operations, and many companies are just beginning their transition to it. It’s a preferred process because it is faster, easier to set up, and provides better directional and start and stop control over the welding bead.

Blackhawk frequently works with local workplace partners to create and implement specific training for students. Once Sophie completes the current course of study, she’ll be awarded a certificate detailing her additional study and skills. As a single mother of an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old, Sophie is pleased to be able to continue to provide for her family with her ever-evolving degree and new skills.

“As soon as I walked back in the welding lab here at Blackhawk, I felt like I was back home,” Sophie said. She was also reminded that “the welding instructors really care about every one of their students.”

BTC’s program puts students in the driver’s seat, offering a number of flexible formats and schedules through individual courses, specialty certificates, or a comprehensive technical diploma. In fact, students can start the program at almost any time during the fall or spring semesters. Learn more about the welding program at

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