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News Release – Columbia City High School Students Receive Certifications for Welding

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (January 23, 2019) – Eleven students from Columbia City High School (CCHS) recently received welding certifications through Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne.

The Whitley Works program and Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) partnered in coordinating the program, and other community organizations provided funding for the students. The Don Wood Family Estate provided generous scholarships for several of the students, and some students received support from the County Economic Development Income Tax, and training grant dollars from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

“The partnership between the Whitley Works program, the EDC, Ivy Tech and the Don Wood Family Estate has provided great opportunities for our students. These students were able to earn college credits by completing the Ivy Tech welding course while also earning their OSHA 10 and AWS Certifications in MIG welding,” said Lori Heuer, director of the Whitley Works program.

The Whitley Works program was put into place in 2017 by WCCS, as a partnership opportunity for all three school systems, WCCS, Smith-Green Community Schools and Whitko Community Schools, to better connect students with local employers to provide internships, training opportunities and employment opportunities.

“On behalf of the Wood Family, I am proud to support students having a strong interest the manufacturing trades, and welding skills are in very high demand in our region. This is a good way for our family to make a difference in our community,” said John Wood on behalf of the Don Wood Family Estate.

Thanks to a grant from the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) through Purdue University, the students also had the opportunity to visit several businesses to learn more about local career options. The students visited Plumbers/Steamfitters Local 166, American Landmaster, Reelcraft Industries, and Novae Corporation.

Through hands-on training, and tours of local companies, students were able to experience what it would be like to work as a welder here in Whitley County, not just learn about it.

CCHS Student Jared Buckles shared, “This program gave me a great perspective on the trade of welding. It takes a lot of practice and patience to gain the skills of a professional welder. I enjoyed this program because it taught me new things and gave me a good idea as to what my future would be like if I decide to pursue a career as a welder. I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in the trade.”

“Welding is one of the most sought-after skills in our region’s job market. The partnership between Columbia City High School, the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, and Ivy Tech Community College made it possible for participants to earn three credit hours at Ivy Tech and also attain an American Welding Society certification. It was an added plus that the students did a great job and enjoyed the class,” said Scott Wilson, Ivy Tech Workforce Development Consultant.

“When we have strong partnerships in the community everyone wins. These students gained valuable skills, and relationships were built between our local students and employers,” said EDC Workforce and Community Development Director Riley Hollenbaugh.

Are you looking for job opportunities in Whitley County? Visit the “Local Career Postings” page on the EDC website www.whitleyedc.com.


Pictured from left to right: Jeff McCracken, class instructor, Ivy Tech; Easton Kidd, Carter Wireman,

Kameron Hale, Mason Sutton, Carson Forrester, Austin Uher, John Wood, Don Wood Family Estate;

Luke Platt, Conor Yost, Nick Lilly, Dylan Snodgrass, Jared Buckles, Cody Parrett, and Riley Hollenbaugh,

Whitley County EDC. 


About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: www.whitleyedc.com.


Media Contact:

Katie Dewitt (Whitley County EDC) – 260.244.5506 kdewitt@whitleyedc.com