When the time came for Calloway County High School senior Trenton Briggs to select a program of study at the Murray-Calloway County Area Technological Center, he selected welding.
Now in his third year in the program, he is ready to make it a career. Briggs is this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.
"There are a lot of different things you can do (with welding)," Briggs said. "There are different processes, more tests."
Briggs' instructor, Chris Rose, nominated him for the weekly honor and said that Briggs has matured a lot since he started the welding program.
"He's realized what his potential is and sees what kind of a demand there is for welders out there and what kind of money he'd be making," Rose said. "The good thing about being a welder with those skills, you can take that with you anywhere you go, whether he wants to work in this state or anywhere in the United States."
Briggs is one of 21 seniors thus far to be named among the Technical Center Students of the Week, and he shares their preparation to enter the working world after graduation. He said he wanted to go to a technical school first, but has no plans for college.
"I'll probably work for the state," he said. "I'd probably be working on bridges."
According to BridgingKentucky.com, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will repair or replace more than 1,000 throughout the state over the next six years, making Briggs' plan seem very sound. He is preparing for certification tests for welding, including the state's 2-F test, which certifies horizontal welding in shielded metal arc or gas metal arc welding.
"Since he's interested in working on bridges and highways for the Department of Transportation, we've got (a test) through the Department of Transportation that he can get where he can do an unlimited thickness test," Rose said. "That's what I think he's going to start on in the next couple of weeks."
After school, he does light electrical work for Gallimore Electrical Contractor of Murray. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting and fishing.
Briggs is the son of Bou and Ashley Briggs of Almo.
A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun each Friday through March 29 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 Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center, the 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Caldwell County Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, and Paducah Area Technical Center.
A banquet is scheduled for April 9 at Graves County High School honoring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week and announcing the 2018-19 Technical Center Students of the Year.
At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as welding, industrial maintenance, carpentry, automotive technology and electrical work that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in the area.