Sparking New Careers at Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway
“Welding can kind of take you anywhere you want to go. Sky’s the limit.”
The Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway is unique trade school that specializes in welding.
“Our philosophy here is a noble workforce. We are preparing them for what to expect and what employers want as they head into industry,” says Tammi Ward.
Tammi Ward is the Executive Director of the Industrial Arts Institute and has been a part of the team since 2014.
And she strives to make the program really feel like a job.
Tammi says, “It’s a 19 week program and we treat it just like employment. It’s called an employer model. They clock in at 7:45 in the morning, are ready to go to work by 8, they have some lecturing classroom time where they focus on the learning of welding, and then we head straight out to the lab and it’s hands-on welding fabrication for the remainder of the day.”
“They try to get us as ready as they can for employment, which I enjoy that. I’ve only ever had one job,” says student, Albert Mosely.
Their students currently range from age 17 to well over 50.
And as students like Albert Mosley learned— experience isn’t necessary…
He shares, “When I first started, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t even know welding was an actual thing, until I came here.”
“I knew I didn’t want to go to college. I knew I wanted to do something hands on.”
And that’s exactly what I-A-I provides–
One-on-one, hands on experience.
Ward tells us, “Our instructors are not teachers. They’re industry experts who learn to teach. And they bring that knowledge set of what it’s really like on the job.”
I-A-I ensures that the students are in good hands–
With welding instructors that are professionals in the craft.
Like Jeff Brown, whose background includes almost 30 years of fabrication.
He says, “It’s exciting, especially the ones that never welded before. And you see some of them now that are exceeding, and that I think is really rewarding.”
But welding and fabrication are not the only things that I-A-I provides its students for the road to success…
Albert states, “They help us elaborate on building our skills for getting into places, interviews. They help us with the interviews so we don’t look so nervous, so we know how to properly stand when we’re talking to somebody, how to output our voice is a little bit…This is definitely worth it.”