Students Showcase Skills in FFA Welding Competition

Merced College hosted the third annual FFA Ag Welding Competition on Feb. 10, opening its doors to 98 students from 25 schools across California.

Teams of four competed in select welding processes, a written test on theory, review of portfolio and application, inspection and the ability to problem solve. The final problem-solving aspect involves cost analysis for materials used in the project. The idea is to place students in scenarios they are likely to encounter on a job site.

“These are skill sets for making a living,” former Dean of Career Technical Education Jim Anderson said.

Hosted by Professor of Welding Technology Chad Russell, the event hosts schools ranging from San Inez to Bakersfield. Liberty Ranch High went home with the High Team Award, earning a place in the state finals, which will be held in San Luis Obispo this May. While there can only be one winner, Russell said the spirit of competition grows each year.

“They already have a love,” Russell said. “It’s promising, seeing the growth.”

Russell hopes that the program continues to grow, and will ultimately lead to job opportunities for the participants.

Merced College offers a variety of welding courses in the Agriculture and Career Technical Education programs throughout the year. Full course descriptions can be found in the Merced College catalog.

-- Contributed by Alessandria Pedretti