BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Craft Technical Institute, a welding school on Manhattan Avenue in Buffalo, has seen increased enrollment amid the pandemic. The school’s welding course is 6 months long, and 100% of graduates have completed courses with a job.
Megan Smith is currently enrolled in the school’s morning class. She decided she needed change about a year ago, so she quit her job.
“It's a complete 180 from what I was doing. I'm a New York State licensed optician,” Smith said.
The mother of two geared up and became the first woman to attend Craft Technical Institute. She also has her CDL.“If a guy can do it, a girl can do it. I don't care,” Smith said.
The school’s welding director, Wayne Guest, said a lot of people, just like Megan, have become interested in joining the welding industry. He said jobs are ready for them. According to the American Welding Society, the welding shortage will reach a deficit of 400,000 workers by 2024.
“Enrollment is booming even during the pandemic,” Guest said, “I probably get 2-3 calls a week looking for welders.”
Students graduate and enter the work force quickly. The course lasts 6 months. Class is Monday through Friday and lasts about 5-6 hours. Students graduate as a certified welder, often with employment waiting for them.“That was one of the draws to this particular place of schooling. They have 100% placement into employment right now,” Guest said.
Wayne said some of his most recent graduates started their careers making $24 an hour. He said he thinks the same can be in store for students now.
“I do have companies ready to hire them already,” Guest said.
Smith said this career shift will help her put her 17-year-old twin daughters through college and more.“In this career that I have chosen, the finances will fall in place and I will be able to do those things that I want to do,” Smith said, “The opportunities are limitless.”
Head to the Craft Technical Institute’s website for instructions on how to enroll.