Connor Hoefler is a high school senior who is done with high school.
At least that’s how Hoefler put it while working in the Industrial Welding Program at KCC earlier this semester. The Harper Creek High School senior is technically still in high school, but his last semester onsite at Harper was last fall. Now he’s traded his traditional high school classroom for the welding lab at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus in Battle Creek.
Hoefler is dual enrolling at KCC through the Calhoun Area Career Center and KCC’s early college program. He’ll walk at commencement with his high school class this spring, continue training at KCC this summer and fall and graduate from KCC with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Welding in December.
He says he chose welding because it was interesting, and it’s a field that’s in demand as a lot of the older generation is retiring. He began the program with little experience, though his grandfather was a welder.
“The first couple things, after you get it down it’s pretty easy,” Hoefler says of the learning curve at the beginning. He says it takes maybe a month to really get the hang of it, “if you’re good with your hands, if you’re good with hand-eye coordination.”
Hoefler has an aptitude for this kind of work, working on cars outside of school and taking pipefitting electives at KCC along with his training in welding. After graduation, he hopes to find a job in the field.
“I love it,” Hoefler says of the Welding Program at KCC. “It’s hands on, working every day. Not sitting in a classroom.”
Early College at KCC
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