May 30, 2024

Industrial Mechanics & Welding at HACTC

AGAccording to an online dictionary, engage means to participate or become involved in. I consider myself an engaged person specifically in hands-on work. I grew up in a family who worked on cars and fixed things themselves. From a young age I have been involved in hands-on things such as welding, mechanics, running a chainsaw, and doing outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, four wheeling, etc. When I was in grade school my grandfather would junk cars which consisted of picking up a car at home, removing some rims and tires to dismount, draining the fluids, and removing exhausts to prepare for the haul to the junkyard. This taught me many things to know about how to do mechanical maintenance and how to work on parts of vehicles. The trailer to haul the vehicles would often get beat up and have to be repaired and welded, so I also learned basic welding and fabrication skills. The other part of this was learning what work ethic was at a young age, and how important spending time with family is and doing what you love together can build an unbreakable bond. At the age of 13, I decided to get my own job working on a farm down the road from my house which was a good experience to learn at a young age what the value of a dollar means and what good work ethic is. 

As soon as I got into high school I knew I wanted to learn a trade, so I decided to start going to the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) my junior year for a program called Natural Resources. This program intrigued me because it was a hands-on outdoor program learning how to log, run heavy equipment, and how the climate works around the world.  At the end of junior year though I came to the realization that although this program is an amazing program I enjoyed, I wanted to pursue welding and diesel technology as a career rather than the careers involved with the Natural Resources program. At this time I decided to see if I could switch programs my senior year to Industrial Mechanics and Welding, which is where I could learn welding, electrical, machining, and mechanics. So far switching programs has been amazing because I’m engaged and it fits well with my plans for a future career in welding and diesel mechanics.

Alex Gray
Woodstock Union High School
Industrial Mechanics & Welding