Athens High School senior Parker Minier has been around welding most of his life, helping buddies fix equipment and working on farms for people he knows. He even has a welding setup at home.
So when the opportunity came during his sophomore year to sign up for the Industrial Welding Program at Kellogg Community College, Minier jumped at the chance.
“It was just something I thought would be fun,” Minier says. “Once I heard about the early college program for welding, I knew that it would be something I’d like to do every day, something to kind of motivate me to wake up early in the morning.”
Minier, 17, of Athens, is dual enrolling at KCC through the Calhoun Area Career Center and KCC’s early college program. He walked at commencement with his high school class last month, will continue training at KCC this summer and fall and graduate from KCC with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Welding in December.
“I really like it. It’s awesome,” Minier says of the KCC program. “I really do like the bonds I’ve made with friends in the program as well. We all kind of do the same thing outside of school, so we get to hang out and we all enjoy welding together. It makes it that much more fun to come here and work and hang out with friends.”
Minier says his welding training — which he completes at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus in Battle Creek’s Fort Custer Industrial Park — has also helped him out in his job doing fabrication and repairs on a family farm in Athens.
“I can definitely tell improvements in quality,” he says.
In addition to learning about and practicing welding at KCC, Minier also takes electives through KCC’s Industrial Electricity and Electronics Program, and plans to continue his education in the field after graduation, possibly even through an apprenticeship.
But the welding training he has through KCC gives him options in the meantime.
“If the apprenticeship doesn’t take off right away, it’ll definitely make it easier for me to find a job in the meantime in the welding field that I know I’ll love, and if I happen to stick with it I stick with it,” Minier says. “And then if I get accepted into the apprenticeship program for electrical, I’ll be happy with that as well.”
Early College at KCC
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