FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JULY 18, 2019
KENANSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – There is a shortage of trained professionals in areas such as welding, as well as other technical career fields, but for those that are qualified, the opportunities are endless. That is the case for Austin Batts, who completed a certificate in welding at James Sprunt Community College while still in high school.
“I went straight to work,” said Austin, who is a combo pipe welder. “I graduated high school, and soon after, I left to go to West Virginia for a job making $27 an hour.”
Austin ended up spending the entire summer of 2018 away from his home in Duplin County, working in West Virginia and also Virginia. His job continues to take him on the road to various job sites.
For Austin, traveling is not just a part of the job, but it is something that he loves and enjoys.
“I have been to Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and West Virginia,” Austin said as he recalls all the places he has been to in the last year. “It is really cool to travel and make good money at the same time.”
As he was speaking, he was getting ready for the next job site in Hopewell, Virginia near Richmond.
“I am going to be doing a weld on a tank vessel,” said Austin. “It is great to be able to see the final product, what you get from the weld…it’s a form of art.”
“My parents are not crazy about the traveling part,” he adds. “But they said as long as it makes you happy, do it, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Austin graduated from East Duplin High School in 2018, and was qualified to receive a full-ride scholarship to James Sprunt as a Presidential Scholar, but opted to enter the workforce as soon as he could.
“I would love to get an associate degree eventually, maybe in Construction Management…. One day I would like to move up and become a supervisor, but for now I am enjoying working in the field and I am loving every minute of it.”
With the shortage of a trained workforce, Austin sees first-hand the need that exists in this industry.
“There is a large demand for welders…” said Austin.
“Welding is a skilled trade…it’s not for everyone,” he added. “But when I took my first welding class, I knew it was for me.”
It was that first spark that ignited a passion for welding in Austin’s life, and it has now set him on the journey of a lifetime.
“It is a good career. You have to work hard, but you make a good living from it.”
Earning a good living wage is what Austin has been able to achieve from taking just a few welding classes and earning a certificate.
It just goes to show that you never know where one class at James Sprunt will lead you to next. As we often say here at the college, start here, go anywhere, and Austin Batts is living proof of that.
– Cheryl Hemric / James Sprunt Community College
James Sprunt offers a certificate and diploma program in welding, and the college is starting a new short-term course through continuing education that will give students skills needed to gain employment and be job ready.
For more information on the welding program at James Sprunt, please contact Casey Brown at (910) 275-6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media related questions, please contact Cheryl Hemric, director of marketing and public information at (910) 275-6170.
James Sprunt Community College is one of the premier institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. Our college serves more than 5,000 students annually from our Kenansville and WestPark campuses and three specialized centers. Learn more at http://www.jamessprunt.edu.