Opportunity Knocks

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The welding technology program at TCTC was the perfect fit for Gabriel Kaplan: He enjoys working with his hands and building things, especially theater sets, and he wanted to do more metal work.

Now is a good time for job seekers along the Treasure Coast. Construction and manufacturing are on the rise and the health care field is booming. And there is additional good news for high school grads not aiming for the traditional college experience, as well as for adults ready for a new career path.

Short-term training programs and even apprenticeships are available to provide entree into these industries, at a decent starting wage and with opportunity for growth. Treasure Coast Technical College is offering just that. Its “Careers in a Year” certification programs, on-site instruction in Vero Beach, affordable tuition and fees — with financial aid available — and dual enrollment for high school seniors make it a great choice for a growing number of residents. Treasure Coast Technical College is one of 49 technical colleges or centers in Florida operating under the umbrella of its local school district.

Gabriel Kaplan, a 20-something student, entered TCTC’s welding technology program last year. He finished last May with a welding certificate and promptly landed a job with Piper Aircraft. Welding technology is one of the newest career certifications that TCTC brought on board to satisfy the demand of the manufacturing segment of the local economy. Kaplan, who first tried the traditional college route, says he found his niche working with his hands and building things, particularly for theatrical productions. The welding technology program gave him the chance to upgrade his skills. “I wanted to get more into building with metal,” he says.

Welding instructor Brian Mosblech, standing near the 10 welding bays where sparks fly behind protective screens, talks over the noise of welding machines about the attitudes of the students in the program. “They are motivated to work hard and learn. They are starting to look at job possibilities and are excited about their prospects. Once they pass the American Welding Society certification test, they could be hired on the Treasure Coast for fabrication work or larger-scale structural projects such as road signs. And some are looking into ironwork.”

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