Tuesday was an exciting day for West Delaware’s welding students.
Not only did Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds compliment the West Delaware/NICC welding program in her Condition of the State address, but a group of students got to go to the State Capitol to see her speech in person.
Reynolds highlighted West Delaware and NICC and their partnership with Henderson Products to create the welding program that gives so many high school kids a head start on learning a skilled trade.
West Delaware welding instructor Seth Harms says the program was brought to the governor’s attention last fall.
Zach Grabbe is one of Harms’ students who plans to use his welding skills after graduation.
He says getting the opportunity to go the State Capitol and be recognized in the governor’s speech was a special moment.
Fellow welding student Ethan Holtz was also grateful for the experience.
Holtz says the program has taught him more than just welding.
And that’s exactly what Harms hopes his students take away from the program.
Around 100 students take Harms’ welding courses each year, with about half a dozen of those students getting a job at Henderson’s right after graduating.
In her speech on Tuesday, Governor Reynolds said she has included 500-thousand dollars in her budget “to expand this type of work-based learning”. Reynolds’ proposed budget also includes one million dollars to expand Iowa’s apprenticeship program to help employees offer these kinds of opportunities.
(bottom archived photo of Governor Reynolds’ visit to Henderson Products in August; top photo courtesy of West Delaware)