Tidioute Charter puts welding into curriculum

Tidioute Community Charter School is now offering an introductory class in welding, teaching students the basics.

The class has four welders, three are flux core and one is a MIG welder that uses argon gas for a cleaner product. All are 110 volt units.

Gases formed by welding are exhausted from the classroom with vents installed for a former foundry in the basement of the school, and the students built the four welding booths as one of their first projects.

There are currently 11 students in the class, girls as well as boys.

According to instructor Greg Barnett, they are learning “just the basics, such as forming a bead that penetrates metals and welding “T,’ butt, lap and edge joints, and how to use a plasma cutter.” Safety is also a prime concern.

Barnett said, “We will try to keep the welding program growing, building on the skills learned and preparing students for possible continuing education in technical schools.”

Barnett said he is a woodworking instructor, but a community volunteer well-versed in welding, who is also on the TCCS board “comes in two or three times a week to teach.” The remainder of the time, Barnett supervises as they practice.

The class convenes five days a week, for 45 minutes each day. “There is only so much that can be done in 45 minutes,” he said.

In addition to welding, TCCS offers classes in robotics, woodworking, drafting and electricity.

The students continue to attend the regular scholastic courses, in addition to their technical training.