The Riverland Community College Industrial Maintenance and Mechanics Repair ( IMMR) Program hosted its 11th annual Welding Contest in Albert Lea on Friday. Around 80 students from 20 local high schools came out to compete in different categories of welding and other work. Students worked on drilling techniques, Diesel and Automotive service and some even welded together a miniature golf course. Sponsors such as McNeilus Truck say the event gives them an opportunity to recruit new talent.
"Part of it is understanding the patience around welding and what is means to really make products right here in America," says Chad Kleist of McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing, "It's really exciting, right? A lot of people don't know all the opportunities that you have, so you're not only making products right here, keeping talent locally, but then the opportunity to grow within welding."
Students who came out to the Welding Contest say they're passionate about what they do and look forward to a bright future.
"Mostly I like learning," explains Austin High student Chance Brady, "I like the joy of running a nice beat, I guess. It's pretty fun and it's pretty cool."
The Riverland IMMR Program trains students in the maintenance and repair of industrial equipment. It also focuses on other areas such as boilers, hydraulics, piping and sheet metal.