Class of ‘22: SAISD CTE Welding Students Interview for Post-Grad Jobs


SAISD continues our celebration of the Class of 2022 countdown to cap and gown by featuring the inaugural Fabricator’s Recruitment Day, a special opportunity SAISD Career and Technical Education (CTE) welding students participated in last Thursday, May 19, 2022, to connect them to future job opportunities after graduation. 

Born out of a growing partnership with the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Economic Development team, the San Angelo Regional Manufacturer’s Alliance (SARMA), the SAISD CTE program and Howard College, the event brought together five local businesses currently looking to hire for fabrication welding positions with 19 graduating seniors who have completed SAISD’s two-year welding certification program. 

“I would like to be offered a job with an oilfield company as a welder, so I can get that experience and get into the oilfield industry,” said CHS senior Preston Van Klaveren. “As soon as I walk across that graduation stage, I want to be out there making money. With the help of [SAISD CTE Welding Instructor] Mr. Mitchell… He’s setting us up for the real world by having us work on these projects… I’ve gotten more confident going into the real world.” 

As of the date of this article, Preston shared following his initial interviews at the Recruitment Event that he had three follow up interviews, and has now accepted a position with Dragon Industries, officially starting in June.

The companies who were part of the Recruitment Event were Pitts Oilfield Products and Services, Dragon Products, ALNC Inc. Steel Fabrication, Long Industries and TriCor Steel Manufacturing LLC. 

“This was a superb event that produced excellent results by introducing local metal working students with 5 local steel fabrication companies.  Feedback from the students and companies was excellent.  It’s fundamental and powerful to bring teams of professionally-minded student craft workers with our local steel fab companies.  We look forward to doing this again,” said Michael Looney, Vice President of Economic Development at San Angelo Chamber of Commerce and San Angelo Regional Manufacturers Alliance.

At SAISD, our CTE program provides students with an array of options to explore and prepare for their individual future success - whether that be pursuing a college education or entering the workforce. CTE is not solely vocational but offers a variety of opportunities spanning many programs of study for our students from healthcare to engineering to welding to culinary arts. Students can earn State approved Industry-based certifications through CTE in 13 areas. The top three currently for students are Certified Nurse Assistant, Educational Aide 1 and Welding.  The certification in welding provides students a leg up in hiring and employers a way to know students are capable. 

“It means quite a bit to employers to have it [the D1 certification for Welding], especially when you get to interview. It shows them you can actually weld,“ said Lake View High School senior Cristian Cardona. “The D9.1 test was a pretty difficult test. The bead has to be really specific, within a ¼ of an inch. If you’re off like a hair, you won't get that certification.” Cristian will graduate this Saturday with welding certifications and experience in multiple types of welding including MIG (Metal, Inert Gas or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)), TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) and Stick (Manual Metal Arc/MMA). He hopes to pursue welding in the oil and gas industry, with a particular interest in pipelines. Per one source, the average Oil Field Welders salary in Texas is $66,248 as of April 26, 2022, with the range typically falling between $58,174 and $76,576. Some of the companies also provide additional benefits like healthcare and 401K opportunities.

“I’m definitely excited about the kids that are coming in, because there’s a need for workers, trade people, whether it's mechanics, diesel,welding, so it’s always good that the high schools are taking the initiative to make trades like this important. ALNC Inc. Safety Manager Emmanuel Lopez said.

In addition to the education and skills learned through CTE courses, many SAISD students also earn technical dual credit. Currently, SAISD is able to offer technical dual credit for 47 of our SAISD CTE courses for students. To hear some of what our CTE  students have had to say about their experiences, click here. Last year, SAISD announced an innovative partnership for our CTE program to bring additional unique manufacturing and engineering opportunities to our students in 2022-2023.

Join SAISD in thanking our partners who helped make the Fabricator’s Recruitment Day possible, supporting the future opportunities of our CTE welding students as they prepare to begin a new chapter toward their own dreams. Follow the San Angelo ISD Facebook, Twitter, and website, www.saisd.org, to see more ways we celebrate our Class of 2022 future-ready graduates, and to stay up-to-date on San Angelo ISD. Community members are encouraged to share how you celebrate your graduates all week long as part of our countdown to cap and gown in advance of the Class of 2022 graduation ceremonies with the hashtag #SAISDGrads22 and #FutureReadyatSAISD. We look forward to celebrating our SAISD Class of 2022 graduates, and their achievements for this important milestone and stepping off point toward further fulfillment of their hopes and dreams.