Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

September 22, 2013

Welder gets help through program; others might not

Inexpensive welding classes filling a special niche.

(Continued)

But completing the course was just the start. He needed a job. Working off of a list of companies the welding instructor supplied, he called company after company inquiring about openings.

“I waited for a while — I want to say at least a month — and I didn’t hear anything back, so I thought maybe it wasn’t going to happen because I didn’t have experience,” said Helmschrott. “Then Sabre called me up.”

Manitex Sabre Inc., a Knox company that makes liquid storage tanks, administered a basic welding test similar to the final test in the two-week welding program Helmschrott had just completed. Out of that test, Helmschrott earned an interview and then, a job.

He’s been on the job two months now, and says having to show up on time for work in the morning “does not bother me, not one bit.”

Having a steady job is “good. It’s just the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “I don’t know how else to put it.”

The program he completed, however, has been temporarily suspended. Steel donors were burned out with having to come up with the extra steel for the program but not seeing many of the program’s graduates apply for their job openings, said Rosenbaum.

“We just decided to hold back,” Rosenbaum said. The committee of Purdue representatives and interested business owners is expected to meet before the end of the year to re-evaluate the program.

“It’s not totally dead,” she added. “It’s just, we’d have to do some revamping or have to increase the cost to be able to buy part of the steel.”

“If we had a fairy godfather that would dump a load of steel for us, we could do it,” said Rosenbaum with a small chuckle. “It’s just very up in the air right now.”

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