Dominique Cowan got interested in welding through her dad, a project director with Fluor Corporation and a friend who works as a welder. A 2005 graduate of Greenville Technical Charter High School, she enrolled at GTC after graduation but wasn't sure what she wanted to study. The next eight years were spent in retail and home care positions. When she returned to GTC a year ago, it wasn't love at first weld as she suffered a few minor burns during her initial attempts. By the second semester, however, she had found her niche, and she's excelled ever since. Recently, she was part of a SkillsUSA Team that earned first place in regional competition.
Vicki Dueck enrolled in the program when her daughter left home for college. Always artistic, the Welding program captured her interest right away. At the time, she and a business partner were repurposing used furniture, and she thought the program would help with that. When her partner moved that business to another state, Vicki realized that she wanted to be a full-time welder, and her hope is that she can find an apprenticeship position when she graduates at the end of the summer with certifications in flux core, arc, stainless steel pipe and pipe welding. Welding, she says, will allow her to work anywhere, and she looks forward to traveling to pursue opportunities.
Four semesters at Greenville Technical College took Matthew Tillmann straight from high school graduation into an excellent job as a welder with GE Gas Turbines. Instructors, he said, were the key to his success, thanks to a strong interest in his progress and industry connections that paved the way. GE employees themselves, the instructors let Matthew know the company was hiring and helped him meet the expectations, guiding him through practice so that he would pass the weld test. “After all the hard work, I am currently a welder at GE Gas Turbines, all thanks to a few of my instructors,” Tillmann said. “They were with me every step of the way. They will help you with certifications and with looking for the right jobs in the right places.”