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Valley nonprofit hopes to help veterans become certified welders

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX – Veterans in the Valley have a new opportunity to better shape their future with free tuition to a new trade school.

Heavy Metal Welding Tech, Inc. has launched a fundraising campaign that will help veterans with limited financial opportunity enter the workforce by establishing a career in welding.

With an expected launch date in early spring of 2021, the academy will offer 12 students a 16-week course including instruction and hands-on training with experienced welders.

Throughout the semester, the program will teach veterans different skills including shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, flux cored arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and more.

Students will also complete a personal and job site safety training program by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“These heroes put their lives on the line to ensure that we are all free and safe,” said Charles Mann, founder and executive director of Heavy Metal Welding Tech, Inc.

“But oftentimes when they return, reentering society as a civilian is more difficult than expected. For those who are unemployed or struggling in their current position, we will give them all the tools necessary to enter the workforce and provide for themselves.”

The organization’s fundraising goal is $1.2 million, which would cover the costs of location, equipment, supplies, instructor pay and all other elements needed to launch the academy.

In the final week of the program, instructors will work with a certified welding inspector to administer a welding certification test, which provides transferrable credentials that students can take with them as they enter the industry.

“It’s a lost trade and to be able to show this and give this education to our veterans – it’s really going to help them out and help them sustain their future,” Mann said.

As a graduation gift, veterans will leave with a tool kit valued at $600 that includes more than 20 different welding supplies.

In addition, Heavy Metal Welding Tech, Inc. hopes to help the veterans find jobs in the industry while creating a network of welders so they can have someone to fall back on if they need to find another job.

“We are looking for community sponsors who share our passion for helping veterans and want to be part of a change that goes beyond a food or clothing donation,” Mann said.

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