Plainview Herald Friday Nov. 1st, 2019

Plainview ISD accepted a $10,000 check from the Plainview/Hale County Economic Development Corporation during the EDC’s quarterly board meeting on Tuesday.

The American Welding Society predicts a severe shortage of welders within the next five years. There are jobs out there for it, but fewer people are qualified, according to Ryan Brundage, welding instructor for Plainview ISD.

Through his program – and with the help of funding donations, like the $10,000 from the Plainview/Hale County Economic Development Corporation earlier this week – Brundage hopes to help get a few more welding hopefuls into the workforce.

A lot of pressure is put on kids to pursue a college degree after high school, he said, but there’s not enough emphasis placed on trade professions.

Through his welding program at Plainview ISD, students are able to earn welding certifications to enter the workforce as a paid qualified professional, he explained.

It’s unclear how long Plainview ISD has had a welding program. Brundage joined the staff last year, he said. And the popularity of the program has grown since then. It’s grown so much that there are more than 100 students interested in going through the program next year.

That’s why the financial gift from the EDC is so important, he added. The EDC presented Plainview ISD with the ceremonial check during the EDC’s quarterly meeting on Tuesday morning. The money will be used to purchase additional welding equipment.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Brundage told EDC board members after the announcement, adding that he and his students feel a great passion for the program.

Mike Fox, executive director of the EDC, said this is the third $10,000 donation given to Plainview ISD for its career and technical education programs.

The EDC’s focus is local workforce development, Fox explained. By investing in students, the EDC is aiding the growth of the local workforce.

In the past, the EDC’s $10,000 donations have been used for the district’s culinary arts program and the Microsoft Office Certification program, in addition to the welding program.