Tyler Sasse said the rows of pay slips on the bulletin board are a good motivating factor. Some of them were when he was a welder in his early years, but most of them were sent from former students after graduating from the Western Welding Institute he founded about a year and a half ago.
The payroll ranges from $4,000 to $9,000, and some are only for one week of work.
Sasse said that welders can make a lot of money, which is not controversial, but they must be willing to invest time and work. In many cases, they must travel on business.
"This is not for the faint-hearted," he said, "but you can definitely live a decent life."
Sasse points out that this is one of the few occupations that doesn't matter how well you performed in high school, adding that he dropped out of school at the age of 16 and sought an equivalent degree. Now, after years of working on some of the county's largest construction projects, Sass has returned to Gillette, where he lived once in his early 20s and opened a school designed to train welders. Work.
"This is the only industry where a high school dropout can make more money than his doctor," Sass said, noting that one must want to work for it.
Sasse waved to a group of people, who circled the picnic tables during their breaks, and talked amiably with their masks in a corner of a football field-sized training building. In less than 30 minutes, they will disappear into one of the dozens of work areas behind the blue and red curtains, where they will learn to use Miller or Lincoln equipment.
Sass said that about 90% of students come from outside the state, except for three states, all the other states are from Alaska, Maine, and Hawaii. Since opening the school, through word of mouth and social media exposure, the number of students has continued to grow, including guest video lectures from well-known YouTube welders like Austin Rose.
Yes, even welders have their celebrities.
Sasse said the popularity of the program stems from the academy's practical methods of training welders and getting them to work. He said that they strive to achieve 100% employment placement without having to bear a large amount of debt. Unlike other similar technical certificate programs, Western Welding Academy does not accept student federal loans, but provides a tuition repayment plan that requires a small down payment and repayment of funds based on a percentage of the salary after the student starts working.
He pointed out that since the college is not part of the state-recognized university system, credits cannot be transferred to or from any other institution.
Sasse said this was a deliberate decision because their program was modeled on a real work site, where students received simulation training to simulate pipe racks or other practical applications that welders might experience at work.
Sasse instilled this spirit into his students and his love for the country and all things made in the United States.
Sasse showed the leather gloves and other welding equipment that the school provided to students as part of their manufacturing costs in Texas. Hats and welding helmets are also made in the United States. Every day starts with the pledge of allegiance.
Sasse In a country where he believes that anyone can do it, as long as they are willing, they will not take the subject lightly. One of Sasse's favorite expressions, which he quoted many times during his visit to the facility, is that if you work for it and believe you can, you can be whoever you want to be.
In terms of certification testing, they also set high standards, Sasse said, which ensures that they can train the best welders in the field.
He pointed to a cylinder on the workbench, which was welded to nuclear grade, which was the highest quality weld. It was welded by 18-year-old Jake Ford from Northern California, Sasse said he has already started his career.
The school offers five courses and students can obtain certifications in various fields, including beginners' shielded metal arc welding, shielded arc welding on pipes, carbon steel plate and pipe welding, advanced GTAW and SMAW pipes, and 24-week professional pipe welders covering the color gamut Course.
He said that the five-week Welder 1 certificate for the certification program starts at $5,350, while the maximum for all four certifications in the 24-week program is $20,560, which is equivalent to a 20% discount.
Sasse runs the school like a workplace. Students clock in shifts in the morning or afternoon, and follow a self-paced course to obtain up to four welding certificates. The plan is designed around the students' abilities, skill levels and the time they invest. There are no fixed semesters or planned deadlines, and new students start every week.
Sasse said that the harder they work, the faster the turnaround time. The course focuses on the longest welding time and training on pipe racks and other devices they may encounter at work.
Sass pointed to a student who was bent like a pretzel under a pile of pipes, the flashlight was burning, awkwardly shaking and hitting a spot behind a corner that required skill and flexibility.
"They will have to hunch over like that and work in some very uncomfortable situations," Sass said. "We want to train them to prepare for work."
He said that this is a huge difference between his school and other welding certificate courses.
In addition, every teacher in the school has worked in this field for many years, has a wealth of first-hand knowledge and experience, and has worked in many projects in different fields and industries. He said that there are many opportunities for welders in any area of manufacturing facilities and factories, from companies that make toilet paper to off-site rigs.
Sasse also sees the Western Welding Academy as a place to train the next generation of welders, not just the energy sector.
He also hopes that the school can attract industries to Gillette by providing them with a skilled and capable workforce, which is computer chip manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies or, as he pointed out, carbon capture or carbon products industry.
"If we can provide skilled workers, then they will have a greater incentive to want to relocate," Sass said, taking Weatherby as an example after they moved their California operations to Sheridan two years ago.
"We are working hard to help people," he said, "but also bringing new industries to the community."
Learn more about Western Welding Academy.