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First in nation opportunity for PVHS welding

A key part of our mission in 27J is ensuring our graduates are prepared for and competitive in their chosen career fields. At Prairie View High, a group of seniors were given a first-of-its-kind opportunity to jump start their post-graduation career pursuits.


“I was a little intimidated at first because we are the first high school to be receiving AWS (American Welding Society) certifications,” recalled senior William Conway. “When I passed the test, I was really excited. I had been wanting to be a part of AWS since my freshman year. I plan on going into structural welding after graduation and this test gets my foot in the door and proves that I am already coming in with skills and knowledge.”


PVHS welding instructor Jim Cade partnered with the Welding and Joining Management Group (WJMG), through the AWS, to provide his students with the opportunity to test for and receive a D1.1 welding certification. This led to Prairie View High being the first high school in the United States to use an independent testing facility to provide students with AWS certifications.


This certification demonstrates to employers that the person holding the certification knows the basics of welding and does not need to go through an apprenticeship. Attaining this certification often enables the holder to enter the profession at a higher salary than if they did not obtain this certification. Normally, future professional welders do not go for a D1.1 certification until they enter a post-secondary program or have been working in the industry for two to three years. 


Like William, many of the students in the welding 3 class plan on going into welding or a related field after graduation. Presently eleven of the students in the welding 3 class have all passed and received their D1.1 AWS welding certification. Seven remaining students have not yet received the certification, but were in the process of completing their test prior to suspension of classes due to Coronavirus. Arrangements have been made for these students to complete their tests at a future date. All students from the welding 3 class will have the opportunity to receive their certification. 


A number of individuals came together with Jim Cade to make this opportunity for students possible. Neil Cade, a certified welder, donated all of the test material for students. He would also come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide instructional help in preparation for the tests.


Jesse Grantham from the Welding and Joining Management Group set up a scholarship for seniors at Prairie View High to pay for all their testing. The test typically costs between 200 to 400 dollars. In order to receive the scholarship, students had to fill out an application and then had a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) monitor their welding and sign a witness form. 


Jordan Marsh, a CWI, volunteered to serve as a third party to inspect the students welding along with Neil Cade. Once approved, students then had to drive to the Welding and Joining Management Group office in Frederick, Colorado to test for the certification. The test takes six hours and is graded on a pass or fail basis. 


We are #27JProud of these students for being the first to receive this industry certification. We know that you will do great in your future endeavors.