Roy E. Yarbrough is in his fourth year in the welding program at the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, and he is taking that as well as electrical classes to bolster his resume to find a good-paying job.

Yarbrough, a senior at Ballard Memorial High School, is this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.

Yarbrough said he chose welding over the other programs at the career and technical center because his cousin was involved with it.

"I saw what he did with it, and decided to go into it, too," he said. "I wanted to see what I could do with it.

"Now, I enjoy knowing that you can put two pieces of metal together and bond them."

Yarbrough is working on his certification so he can be ready to go to work after graduation. Last summer, he worked full-time with a professional roofer.

"Over the summer, I really got into rooding; I really liked it," he said. "I'm trying to get into a good-paying job."

In his spare time, Yarbrough actually enjoys working.

"I don't like to sit still," he said. "I like to keep busy. Most of the time, I try to help out people that I know. If I know they need something fixed on their vehicle, I go over there and try to put something on it, fix whatever they need. Recently, I put in a faucet for a lady and fixed her lighting, fixed her stove."

The students at the Ballard County Career and Technical Center are putting together a solar car to be judged at a competition in Dallas. Yarbrough is part of that crew.

"I cut a lot of the metal for it and a lot of the tubing," he said. "That way, they can weld it together. It's an interesting project to work on. It's nice to be able to see something that you helped build, and it's coming along really good."

Yarbrough's welding instructor, Robert Sterling, said his student has been a hard worker in the program.

"He's been working diligently, getting all the welding certifications that he can," Sterling said. "Literally, from the time he walks in the door to the time he walks out the door, he's in the booth working.

"They're projecting right now that, in four years, they will be 400,000 welders short in filling jobs, and that's still accounting for the people in college coming out. There's a huge shortage of welders."

Yarbrough is the son of Roy A. and Karla Yarbrough of Lovelaceville.

A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun each Friday through March 27 with recipients chosen by instructors and administrators at the seven area technical centers that serve students in the state's 13 westernmost counties.

In addition to the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, this year's 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Caldwell Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center and the Paducah Area Technical Center.

At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as welding, carpentry, machine tool technology, electricity, industrial maintenance and automotive technology that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in the area.

A banquet will be held at 6 p.m. April 16 at Marshall County High School to honor the Technical Center Students of the Week and to name technical center and overall Students of the Year.

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