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Welding students obtain valuable experience

Local fabrication plant G&G Steel in Russellville has three new workers: Phil Campbell high school seniors Jacob McCarley, Ben Pierce and Cade Baker.

These students are involved with the Franklin County Career Technical Center and have been since 10th – and in McCarley’s case, ninth – grade. McCarley and Pierce have taken a machine shop class, but all of their focuses are now on welding.

“It’s a good trade to go into,” Pierce said.

Baker is the only one out of the three who doesn’t have family in the welding business, but he said he enjoys the work. He and Pierce plan on completing their degrees at Northwest-Shoals Community College after high school and continuing their work at G&G Steel.

McCarley said he would like to go straight to work after high school as a pipe welder because of the potentially high salary.

The welding classes they have taken at FCCTC are dual enrollment classes, so they have been earning college credit during their high school tenure at no cost to them.

“The experience they’re getting here is huge, but if they have their degree, they can make good money,” FCCTC director Scott Wiginton said.

To be able to participate in a paid career program like this, the students had to be drug free, able to have reliable transportation to the site and have taken welding courses at FCCTC during their 10th and 11th -grade years.