Student like Cody Spencer, a Beattyville native who recently earned his certificate
in welding from the Somerset Community College Welding program, are in high demand
for their skills and future job opportunities are expected to increase, according
to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In fact, all 13 students who earned a welding certificate or degree from SCC last
year are now employed, according to Karl Watson, SCC welding program director.
Spencer, a 2013 graduate of Lee County High School, came to SCC already highly prepared
for his career, thanks to the training he received at the area vocational school.
As a junior in high school, Spencer earned his state welding certification. As a senior,
he wasnt able to take welding classes, so he specialized in carpentry and earned designation
as a National Certified Carpenter, given by the National Center for Construction Education
and Research (NCCER).
My dad always said I was going to college, so I knew I wanted to continue my education,
said Spencer. My vocational school principal told me that Karl (Watson) was the best
to learn from, so I came to SCC.
Cody is a great student, said Watson. I think he has a bright future.
Soon after graduation, Spencer was given the opportunity to work for the United Brotherhood
of Carpenter Millwrights.
I went in for an interview on July 16, my birthday, and was working the following
Monday, said Spencer. And, he said, for more than average pay with a generous benefits
package, including a fully-funded pension.
Spencer is considered a Union carpenter apprentice, he said, although he performs
welding, carpentry, pile driving, concrete forming and various other duties on the
job. He is currently contracted to work for Skanska, one of the worlds leading construction
groups out of Evansville, Indiana. The company is doing an addition to the E.W. Brown
Generating Station near Harrodsburg.
After four years of apprenticeship, during which Spencer will receive raises every
six months and the opportunity to complete his associates degree, he will become a
journeyman and will be responsible for knowing all parts of the job.
Spencer credits his high school and SCC for helping him get to where he is now, even
at only age 19.
The work I did at SCC was hands-on, Spencer said. The classwork was mostly online
and that worked for me.
While in school, Spencer was working 60-70 hours a week at UGN in Somerset. He relied
on financial aid for his school, yet still needed money for books, rent, gas, and
other expenses, he said.
And Spencers family was supportive of his decision, he said.
My dad never got to finish his degree, said Spencer. He earned his certificate in
HVAC at Hazard Community and Technical College, but he always wanted me to go on.
Spencers parents, James and Lisa, and two sisters, reside in Beattyville where his
father works for the county school system and mother cares for the family and foster
As for his future, Spencer said he plans to stay with the union for now. Once he becomes
a journeyman, he is able to earn more and travel for jobs, he said. He also plans
to pursue a bachelors degree in Engineering.
To find out more about SCCs welding programs, which are offered at the Somerset and
Laurel Campuses, contact Watson at (606) 451-6881 or visit us online at somerset.kctcs.edu