ENID, Okla. —
An important part of Autry Technology Center’s formula for success is keeping an eye on the local economy, knowing what jobs are in demand and offering training designed to meet employer needs now and into the future.
The “hot classes” in 2013 are electronics, welding, information technology, administrative services, automotive technology, accounting services, air conditioning, collision repair, diesel technology and power products.
In addition to full-time training programs, Autry offers a large assortment of short-term classes designed to meet specific needs of area industries.
Classes of opportunity
The school provides options for welding. In-depth training is offered during the day and emphasizes gas, arc, MIG, TIG and pipe welding while utilizing the theory and practices of welding, brazing and assembly. An evening class offered once a semester includes oxyacetylene cutting and welding, arc and MIG welding. Techniques of uniting common and alloy metals in extensive hands-on experiences are covered in this class.
Ryland Stonehocker, Autry welding instructor, remembers as recently as two years ago the number of welding students and equipment needed for learning the trade filled a space half the size the program now requires. He’s watched enrollment in the welding program undergo remarkable growth.
“In the seven years I’ve been here, it’s expanded considerably,” Stonehocker said of the welding program. “We went from eight students in the morning and eight in the afternoon my first year to 22 in the morning and 22 in the afternoon.”
Welding student Lawrence Ramirez said he enrolled in welding to learn respect and self-disciple.
“I thought it would help me learn that,” Ramirez said. “I have learned to love welding.”
Ramirez bought a portable welder and is earning money making hand rails as well as working for a local automotive service shop. He’s also taking three online classes through Cowley Community College in Arkansas City, Kan. Ultimately, Ramirez has his eyes set on a specific industry.
“My plans are to become a pipeline welder and move on to nondestructive testing,” Ramirez said.