Alumnus Success – Jonathan Blair
While a student in the Academy of Finance at Edgewood High School, Jonathan Blair learned about a variety of careers courtesy of classes, speakers and job shadowing opportunities. The program helped him learn more about the business world, including how to start a business, apply for insurance and loans, and maintain a good credit score.
Two of his teachers, Dr. Austin Hill, currently director for strategic partnerships at Harford Community College, and William Hunter, an accounting and finance teacher at the Academy of Finance, were important mentors for Jonathan.
Among Jonathan's career interests in high school were automotive, HVAC and welding. Thanks to the innovative opportunities at the Academy of Finance, Jonathan was able to pursue an internship in one of his fields of interest – automotive – at Thompson Automotive during the summer after his sophomore year.
During his senior year, Jonathan began looking into a career in HVAC. He spoke to Matt Baylis, Harford Community College’s apprenticeship coordinator, and Victor Cyran, director for corporate professional training at the College, about Harford's HVAC program. During those conversations, Jonathan discovered that the welding program at Harford Community College, rather than HVAC, might be a better fit for him.
In addition, Jonathan learned that he would be eligible for GEER (Governor’s Emergency Education Relief) Funds to pay for his welding classes at the College.
GEER Funds were provided to Harford Community College and to community colleges throughout Maryland for workforce development courses and continuing professional education that lead to government or industry-required certification or licensure. The welding program fit the criteria for the funding because it provides certification upon completion.
Jonathan enrolled in Harford Community College's welding program during the final semester of high school, in spring 2021. He took two classes – Fundamentals of Welding and Intermediate SMAW (stick welding/shielded metal arc welding) – that met in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The classes took place at Earlbeck Gases and Technology in Rosedale and were taught by professionals in the welding field.
"I decided to become a certified welder to chase a passion of hard work and dedication," Jonathan said. "Hard work builds character and respect for the things I own."
Fundamentals of Welding is a mixture of classroom time and in-the-shop welding. The class taught Jonathan different welding procedures, when and how to use them, and how to safely work in the welding field.
After Fundamentals of Welding he moved on to an intermediate class that focused on preparing him to become a certified welder. Thanks to his training in Harford’s program, Jonathan passed both certification tests on the first try. He is a certified welder in the positions 1-4 up to the D1.l standards.
When he graduated from high school, Jonathan was prepared to pursue a career. He earned a high school diploma in addition to holding a welding certification.
He has interviewed for a five-year apprenticeship with an international welding company based in Dundalk. "I feel that the apprenticeship will put me on a great path for success," Jonathan said.
The welding classes he took through Harford Community College and the resulting certification have positioned Jonathan for career success now and in the future.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Blair.
If you prefer an active, hands-on job with opportunities to work almost anywhere, then Welding might be the career for you! Click here to learn more.