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August 31, 2022

High-demand trade jobs become promising careers.

Colby Bunch’s future was in flux — until he discovered Metal Fabrication/Welding at JCCC. This high-demand field had a spark of promise, but getting a specialty welder/fabricator job offer before he graduated was unexpected.

Colby, who earned an Associate of Science in Metal Fabrication and Welding Technology, is now part of a team that services contracts for race car fuel systems, railroad train parts, dirt bike suspensions, construction equipment and a variety of parts for the nation’s military.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Colby. “I’ve always wanted to work within the automotive industry at some capacity. I love what I do.”

How to land a welding job

JCCC’s reputation for producing skilled tradespeople resonated with Olathe business owner Daniel Todd, President of DTI Precision Machining. He called Scott Crompton, Associate Professor in Metal Fabrication/Welding, and asked if he could recommend a student to fit a fabricator position. Crompton toured DTI’s shop floor and said, “I have just the student.”

Todd set up an interview, was impressed with Colby’s knowledge and teachable spirit and hired him on the spot! Colby was ready to trade in his name tag and vest at his part-time convenience store job for welding gloves and a helmet for a full-time gig.

Todd was able to confidently expand his business because of the expertise Colby brings to DTI’s shop floor. With succession plans in mind, Todd is leaning on new employees like Colby to get a grasp on business practices. “If the company is going to have legs for the future, I’ve got to bring in younger people who want to learn. Colby is a great employee with tremendous potential.” Todd said he would like to explore bringing in more JCCC grads.

Colby’s ability to work with DTI’s equipment made him a competent candidate. “He knew his weld symbols and even corrected me on a few of them,” said Todd. “He has been prepped well by JCCC. I needed someone who could hit the ground running, and Colby knows the details.”

Curriculum meets national need

Manufacturing welding is Colby’s specialty. “I really was impressed by the extensiveness of the curriculum and the super-modern lab equipment and machinery,” he said. “I’m able to complete every process and my associate degree has set me up to do anything I want with welding.”

Plenty of hands-on lab time and getting to know his professors was valuable to Colby’s success. “I learned so much during the 1:1 lab time with instructors by doing welding instead of reading about it,” he said. “My instructors cared and wanted everyone in class to be prepared and productive members of the workforce. Their knowledge covered the entire range of welding, and I learned a lot from my professors’ prior experiences.”

The boss needed training, too

Todd, Colby’s employer, has been an entrepreneur and business owner for nearly 40 years. He has coupled grit from life lessons and an associate degree in Machine Tool Technology from State Technical College of Missouri to build a successful “job shop.” Todd wanted to learn more about Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning several years ago, but he also had a business to run. JCCC was just a few miles away and the flexible evening class schedule fit his needs.

“The HVAC knowledge I learned at JCCC has not only saved me considerable money on repair costs over the years for my building’s units, but also production time,” Todd said. “It’s never too late to learn more.”

Get your degree for FREE

Welding is one of 50+ Kansas Promise-eligible programs that open doors to in-demand, rewarding careers. Kansas residents can apply for the Kansas Promise Scholarship. Earn a college degree or certificate at no cost to you. 

JCCC is one of more than two dozen schools providing a path to high-demand, high-value jobs within our great state.

Explore the possibilities at JCCC.