SBHS considers hosting Gavilan’s adult welding class

The four-month course would be limited to 16 students.

Gavilan College and San Benito High School are in negotiations to offer an adult welding course on the high school campus. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be considered by the San Benito High School District Board of Trustees on April 27 for approval.

Randy Brown, interim dean of student learning and student success, foundation skills, and academic support for Gavilan College, and Tim Hammer, San Benito High School metals instructor, gave a presentation to the San Benito High School District Board of Trustees on April 13.

Brown told the board that SBHS, along with other “feeder” high schools in Gilroy and Morgan Hill are in partnership with the college in the Gavilan Regional Adult and Career Education program, which includes classes to learn English, obtain citizenship and earn a high school diploma. He said the program also includes a three-year plan to develop more vocational programs. Welding was among the vocational classes to be considered.

“The labor market data that we reviewed over the next five years indicates there will be an 11% increase in welding jobs,” Brown said, indicating that would mean approximately 10,000 new jobs in Gavilan’s region. “There is only one instruction facility certified by the state in our region right now and that’s San Benito High School.”

Brown said that he and Hammer came up with the proposed curriculum for an adult welding class at SBHS. Hammer said the course would consist of three different levels—an introduction to welding , intermediate welding, and blueprint reading. 

The proposed schedule would run from Aug. 27-Dec. 12, excluding Thanksgiving. Lectures would be held on Fridays at 5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m. and the labs on Saturdays at 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m. The course would be limited to 16 students. 

“We’re proposing to use your facility and will pay a rental price that’s in the MOU, and material fees, so there is no cost to the district,” Brown said. “We’re also very excited in being able to use your instructor, Mr. Hammer. This is the first step in many partnerships to come.”

Trustee Juan Robledo asked if the welding class would be offered to the other participating high schools. Brown said adult vocational classes are open to the general public. Robledo asked if there would be more than one lab to accommodate the 16 students. Brown said there would not.

Trustee Patty Nehme said she appreciated the partnership.

“It’s a step in the right direction in using our CTE [Career Technical Education] building and it’s great if any of our students can get into that,” she said.


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John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]