NPC can help you transform your life by getting you job ready for career success right out of high school. It did for journeymen welders Patricia Mangum Powell and Emerson Jackson. 

Soon after learning welding at NPC through the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) program, they established their careers. Both are now making good incomes from employers who are very impressed with their skills. 

Powell has always enjoyed rigorous challenges. At St. Johns High School, she finished fourth in the state 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and played soccer. As a junior in high school, she began work on an associate of applied science degree in welding at NPC, through NAVIT. 

One week after her high school gradu-ation, Powell was working at a large solar plant in Gila Bend. When that job ended a year later, she went to work at an Intel jobsite in Phoenix for a few months. Powell then transferred her union membership to Atlanta and has been working at two or three jobsites a year in Georgia since. The union allows her to transfer to job-sites where there is a current need fitting her skills. After five years, she was pro-moted to “journeyman welder.”  

Along the way, Powell has received plenty of positive feedback on her skills and questions about where she learned her trade. “I enjoy telling people about my NPC education,” she says. “It’s a great place to learn the trade. I’d rate the quality of education at NPC a 10. I learned all the basics I needed to know to get into the field, and I have been able to apply what I learned at NPC to my work.” 

Powell credits Frank Pinnell, NPC faculty in welding, for not only teaching her welding as well as life skills. “I was very impressed with Frank and everything he taught me. Each day he’d have us get up in front of class and introduce ourselves. He really helped me with my communication skills.”

At NPC, Powell was one of a half-dozen women in welding class. She says, “A lot more women are getting into welding now. I would encourage women and men to learn a trade at NPC. It’s definitely a good program to start out in.”

Emerson Jackson, 21, is a White Cone native who attended high school in Hol-brook. Though he’s been working in welding for three years, he’s currently taking the final three credit hours he needs to earn his associate degree at NPC. 

“I rate NPC five stars because you get your OSHA 10 card and National Center for Construction Education and Research certificate,” Jackson says. “Those are really valuable for high-paying welding jobs. I gained a lot of knowledge at NPC through NAVIT. My instructors, Randy Hoskins and Wes King, were great, and they provided us with plenty of hands-on learning.”

Jackson has worked at power plants in Indiana and Florida, and he is gaining great experience at a young age. He’s now indentured, which means better pay and benefits. Employers have remarked about how advanced he is for being one of the youngest workers on his job sites.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘You’re a hard worker, who taught you your skills?’” Jackson says. “I tell them I would not be where I’m at without NPC and NAVIT. I wouldn’t have the skills and certifications. With NAVIT, you pay nothing, it’s free education and it’s amazing. A lot of guys tell me they wished they would have had that opportunity.”

Jackson already has a savings account established for his young daughter, and he’s paid off his truck. He enjoys visiting his old high school and encouraging students to enroll in the NPC/NAVIT program. “NPC teaches you all the techniques you need to know and gets you job ready right out of high school so you can make good money,” he says.

Take it from two students who applied themselves and made the most out of a fantastic opportunity at NPC to get their careers off to a successful start. You can do the same. Check with your high school guidance counselor to see what NPC/NAVIT programs are available. If you’ve already graduated from high school, speak with an NPC academic adviser to see what direct-to-work program will work best for you.