After School Welding Program

We are offering the opportunity for students enrolled in classes that have welding as part of the training to increase their time in the booth and improve both skills and knowledge. Check out the information below for more details.

GTAW Weld on carbon Steel Pipe by Gerald Austin

The After School Welding Program is a resource for high school students to gain additional practice time welding. This will allow participants an opportunity to greatly improve their skills, while also gaining the experience of interacting with other individuals interested in the trade. In addition to this, students may have exposure to equipment they may not have normally have access to.

Times will be announced at a later date depending upon interest and times that people can begin. The current intended start time is 3:30 PM and will not run past 5:15 PM.

Many students have a variety of challenges placed upon them while attending school. Sometimes these challenges can take away from the experience of learning something that requires skill. Schools often have various types of “practice” after schools for a number of activities. We feel that if a student is interested enough in something to put more time into it than what is required by the school, WE WILL HELP!

In our welding instructor’s opinion, there is no single group of people that can learn faster than teenagers.  This fact, coupled with a sincere interest in a topic, is something that cannot be outdone.

Our facility has modern welding equipment capable of SMAW, GTAW, GTAW Pulsed, FCAW, GMAW, and GMAW-Pulsed. We have the ability to help you improve your skills no matter what skill level you are at!

We can provide instruction using all of the processes listed above. For those that are already proficient at something, we can challenge you to do even more!

This program is open to all high school students age 16 or older who are currently enrolled in a high school program in the SWVA/NETN region that has welding as part of the course.

In addition to the safety rules that will be reviewed on your first day, there are a few others.

  1. If you violate any safety rule, you will not be able to continue in the program.
  2. You must provide a letter of recommendation from your welding instructor.
  3. You will be expected to weld while you are here. If it doesn’t seem you are interested, we will let you know that you will be removed from the program if things do not change.
  4. No “friends” are allowed in the shop to visit you.
  5. Nothing but respect will be given to you. You are expected to do the same.

My Name is Gerald Austin. I have been blessed with being able to do what I enjoy for a living my entire life. I started my welding career in high school and feel that the ability to learn new skills and absorb knowledge is one of the great things about being a teenager. If you are truly interested in learning more about welding, I will help you.

A few years and pounds ago!

I am NOT the authority on all things welding, but I am willing to share those things that I do know. My interest in welding started in the 9th grade, and I have been going at it since then. And that was a LONG TIME AGO!

I have welded on Nuclear Powered Submarines and BBQ grills.  I loved those experiences and every one in between. This trade has been pretty good to me!

I have worked in various industries and in various positions over the years and still have much to learn. Maybe you can help me become a better instructor while I help you become a better welder!

If you wanna check me out online then you can try Linked at

If you want to see what I have had to say about welding over the years, you can check out my posts and responses at the American Welding Society Forum at 

If you are interested in participating in this program and would like more information, you can call Gerald Austin at 276-525-4753 or Cell 423-914-481. You can also email

We can also schedule a time for you to come to the facility, see the shop, and talk face to face.

Pre-registering will allow us to form an idea for scheduling, materials, and equipment.  After you pre-register, you will be emailed a form that must be completed by a parent/guardian and either your teacher or principal.” . You may be able to get a paper form from your instructor if you will have them contact me.

You must be enrolled in a class that has welding as part of the curriculum.

If you already used the previous form on 11/28/18 please go to the new form at since I was unable to get any responses.

Sorry for using your time if you filled out the other one.


If your organization would like to assist in the form of materials, consumables, safety equipment, or time, please let us know! We can send you a list of the materials we will be using if you like!

The Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence is sponsoring this program with materials, space, instructor time, and promotional activities. If you would like to know more about us, please contact us.

 We are grateful to the Lincoln Electric Company for their donation of filler metals and safety equipment for this activity.

We are thankful for Airgas donating materials for this effort!