Future welders look to Wisconsin’s new mining law for jobs
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
PEWAUKEE - In the confines of a hot, cramped workspace, student Eric Defries practices his craft. Defries is studying at Waukesha County Technical College to become a welder.
"Before this, I was doing windows and doors, and everybody and their uncle thinks they can do windows and doors. That market's flooded, but welders, that takes skill,” Defries said.
Defries—and other students may soon have their chance to prove themselves. Future welders see Wisconsin’s new mining law as a way to build a career at home, instead of leaving Wisconsin for work.
"A lot of people have moved out of the state, because there's not enough jobs here, so it's excellent,” said student Gary Kender.
The news means a potential boost for the hiring pool, and colleges are already taking notice. WCTC recently doubled its lab space for welders ahead of the bill becoming a law.
"We just hope that parents as well as students see these are great jobs with great career opportunities," said Mike Shiels, dean of the college’s Industrial and Engineering Technologies division.
Though the sparks aren’t flying on any projects just yet, Defries and fellow students have high hopes and are already thinking about the years ahead.
"I’m trying to contribute to the cause. Gives me a job. Gives me benefits. Gives me something to do,” Defries explained.