CTC welding graduate

Spc. Jake Bercaw receives congratulations from Jim Yeonopolus, Central Texas College chancellor, upon completing the first-ever CTC-Ingalls Industrial Welding program.

Central Texas College and Ingalls Shipbuilding hosted a recent achievement ceremony for seven transitioning soldiers who completed an initial Industrial Welding Transition program.

Guest speakers for the ceremony were Col. Todd Fox, Fort Hood Garrison commander, and Owunta “Mike” Catchings, military/diversity recruiter for Ingalls.

Upon completing the program, the soldiers earned 19 college credit hours and received an employment agreement with Ingalls.

Ingalls develops warships for the surface Navy fleet, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and foreign and commercial customers.

Graduates of the first welding program are: Spc. Dector Baltazar, Spc. Jake Bercaw, Spc. Richard Garay, Spc. Jonatan Jaldin, Spc. Kevin Johnson, Spc. Ivan Mendoza and Spc. Balentine Riojas.

They will soon relocate to the company’s headquarters in Pascagoula, Miss.

CTC and Ingalls offer the industrial welding program as part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act.

It is one of several programs free to qualified transitioning active-duty military, officials said.

The new Industrial Welding Transition program is a 16-week competency-based instruction course taught by CTC in partnership with Ingalls.

Students spent 40 hours a week in classroom instruction and hands-on training, said Ronnie Turner, CTC Industrial Technology chairman.

During the course of the program, the students learned four techniques – arc, oxy-fuel, wire-fed and tungsten-inert gas welding.

“They were able to use these four welding disciplines to weld plates, pipes and tubes similar to what they will be doing for Ingalls when working on naval ships,” Turner said.

The deadline to sign up for the next welding class is Feb. 23.

Interested transitioning soldiers can register at the CTC Fort Hood campus, located at Building 3201 on 72nd Street, or call the Fort Hood Transition Assistance Program office at 254-553-9436.

Other available career programs are truck driving though Stevens Transport and pipefitting, also offered by Ingalls. CTC also offers the Fort Hood Fellowship program through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation which provides education, networking and training opportunities in a variety of career fields.

Contact Rachael Riley at rriley@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7553

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