SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A competition at the CTE Academy in Sioux Falls helped spark interest in the high-demand field of welding. Local high school students had a chance to earn a full-ride welding scholarship to Southeast Tech during this heated competition.
Sioux Falls high school students showed-off their mastery of the welding torch.
“Obviously have fun, but keep yourself safe while you’re doing it,” Lincoln High School freshman Riley Odegaard said.
Under the watchful gaze of judges from Marmen Energy, the students had to perform three basic welding techniques: flat, vertical and round.
“I actually did better than I thought I was going to do which was honestly, really weird, it just kind of surprised me, when I’m under pressure, I guess I do better,” Odegaard said.
“Around the tube is definitely the hardest because you’re supposed to be able to get around it without stopping,” Washington High School sophomore Keile Wood said.
Girls taking part in the competition say they can handle a welding torch just as well as the boys.
“I’ve been told like, oh, why do you weld, that’s a man thing, do you want to be around men all the time? It’s like no, it’s something that’s really fun to do,” Wood said.
Local manufacturers like Marmen Energy see the potential in these you welders as filling a critical need in their industry.
“They get their foot in the door as opposed to someone like you coming off the streets. You’re not going to know how to position your weld, or weld around the stud,” Marmen Energy inspector Kulley Morrison said.
“I don’t know exactly what company I want to go into, but just a fun thing to explore is welding,” Odegaard said.
With so many companies in search of skilled welders, students who decide to pursue the profession face a bright future.
Marmen Energy, the Brandon company that makes wind towers, sponsored Wednesday’s competition.
If you’re looking into a welding career with Marmen, or some other type of job with the company, click here.
Roosevelt/CTE student Brennan Roblewsky won the competition. He has been awarded a full-ride scholarship to Southeast Technical Institute along with other prizes.