Vo-Tech Trade School Student trains at Imperial Systems

May 9, 2018

Garret Welding on a BRF baghouse

Like many companies in the USA, Imperial Systems wouldn’t exist without our skilled tradespeople. Making a quality product comes from training and experience, and right now we’re lucky enough to have a young man who has come here for both of those things.

Garrett is a student at our local Mercer High School and participates in the Mercer County Career Center Vo-Tech trade school program. Every morning he comes to work at Imperial Systems, welding CMAXX and BRF’s, learning from our experienced team and getting great real-world experience.

Garrett knew about Imperial Systems from a friend who works here in the summer, and he chose us for his Vo-Tech worksite. He told us about how much he’d learned already, and the difference between welding in school and working from blueprints, working on projects that are actually going out to customers and have to be done right. Fortunately, he is eager to learn and enthusiastic about his work.

He’s also enthusiastic about welding in general, as shown by his artwork he created for a trade school skilled trades art show. He got to take his work as far as state competition in Hershey, PA. In school, he plays football, wrestles, and participates in show choir.

Welded Skull Sculpture

While show choir might seem like an unexpected hobby for a welding student, Garrett is an intelligent and well-rounded person, and our conversation ranged from his project on World War II propaganda to the deficit of skilled tradespeople and the over-abundance of college graduates with useless degrees. He has clearly thought a lot about his future and has a good understanding of the need for welders in the workforce and how it has affected his career choices.

He can also tell you from first-hand experience how under-funded trade schools struggle to attract and support students. The demand for skilled tradespeople dwarfs the budget that trade schools have to bring in and train these people. As a result, a future shortage of welders and similar skilled tradespeople looms, and trade schools continue to be neglected as a source of solid, well-paying careers for many young people who don’t see college (or the accompanying debt) in their future.

The school year is almost over, and Garrett has plans for his future in the skilled trades: he has enlisted in the army and plans to work in one of their metalworking divisions. He’s not sure whether he’ll stay in the military as a career, but he knows we have several veterans working here now, so he’d be in good company if he decides to come back.