Drake State Student is welding his way to global recognition

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Drake State Community & Technical College is receiving national attention, that could grow into global interest, in the next year.

Student Jonathan Smith receives lots of attention from his welding classmates.

"I'm a part-time instructor on the weekends," Smith said. "I'm hoping they'll hire me full time in the spring, or after I get my degree."

Smith's welding instructor, Ryan Green, also acknowledges the student's abilities.

"I see him being a teacher one day, I really do," Green said.

Green said Smith has several more steps before the student could compete in the World Welding Competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017. Smith already took the top spot at the National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky in June.

"It's all in," Smith said. "There's no halfway doing this, it's all in or we don't do it."

Smith's success puts Drake State on the map, showing others the opportunities trade skills can offer a person.

"In Huntsville right now, there's a lot of jobs, that's one thing we can say right now, there's a lot of jobs," Green said.

Smith said the opportunities continue growing for welders after graduation.

"It just looks better on your resume," Smith said. "If someone has no college experience, and you have the college experience, you're more likely to get that job and better pay."