W.F. West high school students are gaining employability skills that can help them transition to the next step after high school, whether that is a job or further education and training. One example of this is the school’s welding program, which allows students to try several types of welding and even earn college credit or become prepared for a job with a local manufacturing company.

Teacher Chris Guenther teaches students about the various types of welding, includes gas, Arc, and TIG welding.

Beginning students learn shop safety then try out the various types of welding techniques.

Serious students may earn college credit or transfer to Centralia College to earn certification there. Many students continue to take advanced welding classes and serve as peer mentors to beginning students.

A W.F. West High School graduate himself, Guenther encourages students to continue into college and become certified. Students can also apply for apprenticeship programs or take skill tests to enter the world of work right away.

The school now offers a metal art class where students can gain art credit while using their welding skills. Students also use a Plasma cutter to cut sheet metal, making various custom projects. Students interested in industrial art have designed metal garden sculptures for the upcoming Home and Garden Show.

“The skill itself opens doors,” said Guenther. “W.F. West is a great place to start as they figure out what they are interested in.”