Southwestern Community College’s welding program hosted their 2018 Welding Skills Challenge and Industry Career Fair for high school students on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in the college’s Technical Center.

During the fair, students were able to compete individually and in teams, network with industry professionals, and learn about career opportunities in the welding field.

Approximately 50 students participated in the day. High schools represented during welding competition included ACGC, Atlantic, Central Decatur, Creston, Logan-Magnolia, Mt. Ayr, Panorama, Red Oak, Sidney, Southeast Warren, Stanton, and Wayne.

In the individual welding competition, Matthew Carter of ACGC went home with top honors. Second place was awarded to Elijah Keith of Panorama and the third place winner was Owen Hansen of ACGC.

In team competition, first place went to ACGC (pictured above) with team members Matthew Carter, Bryce Clark, Owen Hansen, Justin Plowman, and alternate Trey Derry. Panorama High School took home second place honors with team members Dillon Bennett, Trevor Carey, Elijah Keith, Preston Prince, and alternate Colten Boatman. Third place went to Logan-Magnolia with team members Jacob Conard, Beau Peschel, Wyatt Wohlers, Austin Zaisen, and alternate Sidney Pitt.

During competition, the students rotated through four welding stations, including oxy-acetylene, SMAW/stick, GMAW/MIG, and a written test. Local welding experts served as the judges for the hands-on competition. Instructors had a session regarding scholarships available through the American Welding Society and then participated in a worksite tour of Vanmark in Creston.

SWCC’s welding program offers a one-year diploma program, as well as a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in welding. Micah Elefson is the lead instructor for the college’s welding program.