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Tyler Blais aspires to work with his hands in a creative fashion, and he believes welding is the skill to help that dream come true. His career is getting off the ground thanks to classes at the Lincoln Electric Welding Technology and Training Center (WTTC) in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Massachusetts resident has worked as a landscaper for several years. But landscaping is prone to seasonal layoffs, so in early 2017, he took a job as an apprentice to a local sculptor, who also happened to be a TIG welder. Tyler tried his hand at TIG welding and, at the same time, was able to practice stick welding with a local ironworker.

He discovered that not only did he enjoy welding, he wanted to learn more and determine whether he could make a career out of it.

After some investigation, Tyler signed up for the one-week Introduction to Welding course at Lincoln Electric. As fate would have it, he was among the first group of students to participate in classes at the WTTC.

“I saw a post on Instagram® from a welder I follow with a photo of his rig in front of the new school (while) under construction,” he says. “I went to the website, found the 2018 classes and registered. My feeling was I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Tyler was not disappointed with his experience, neither with the course or WTTC.

“I discovered in one week just much I don’t know,” he notes. “It’s definitely a science. The electrodes, metallurgy, types of tungsten – there is a lot to learn. The class opened the floodgates.”

As for the WTTC, Tyler says it was great to be in a brand new facility. “My class size was seven students. My instructor had time to come over and help me in the booth.”

Tyler is on the road to a welding career. He has contacted UA Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 104 (The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada) in Massachusetts about securing an apprenticeship in an international program. In addition, he would like to purchase his own mobile rig and travel the country – and even beyond – to take welding jobs. He believes a career in welding can lead him down paths he otherwise would not be able to travel.

His plans include returning to the WTTC in Cleveland for the six-week Comprehensive Shielded Metal Arc Welding (stick welding) course. “I know there is a strong need for skilled welders,” he points out. “Welding can provide job security and higher pay for me moving forward.”