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Work-Based Learning: Waukon High School student welders network with local industry in Waukon-NICC collaboration

Thursday, June 2, 2022

The work-based learning component provided students with authentic learning opportunities to meet industry standards.

Waukon HS welders news imageWAUKON, Iowa—Waukon High School added an in-house, work-based learning component to its Welding program this year. The new focus on real-world learning complements the Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Career Pathway Certificate offered in partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College for college credit.

Twelve students worked with local businesses and industry to complete several projects while operating the class as a welding business model. Student tasks for projects included designing, estimating materials, pricing and fabrication, and the students developed their own company name, “Next Gen Welds.” Projects completed in collaboration with local businesses were four concrete form racks and 70 pig pen stands for Palmer Repair, a heavy railing to protect a half-million-dollar CNC machine for M’s Machine, five vertical ball carts for Waukon High School and middle school to organize basketballs, and 100 tee-off markers for Waukon Country Club.

The numerous projects kept the students busy, and the work-based learning component provided students with authentic learning opportunities to meet industry standards, according to Waukon High School Welding instructor Caleb Ferring.

“Work-based learning challenged my welding students to apply skills through quality standards, time constraints and problem-solving made possible with real-life projects and customers,” Ferring said. “Thank you to Allamakee County School District, Northeast Iowa Community College and local welding business partners for making our skilled trades a priority and providing opportunities like this for our students.”

The estimated annual salary for Welding (GMAW) program graduates in northeast Iowa is $39,102, and represents median annual wage from EMSI's Analyst, Career Coach and Institutional Research data from NICC. For more information about Career Pathway Certificate programs at NICC, visit www.nicc.edu/cpc.