Welding Student Expands Career Opportunities

Joshua "Red" Reding was curious about bigger opportunities for his career when Rock Valley College announced the opening of the Advanced Technology Center. Tuition waivers were available for CTE programs like Welding, Machining, and Mechatronics, and he saw it as an opportunity to learn additional skills. 

Joshua Reding, Welding Student and Certificate Ceremony Speaker

Joshua Reding, Welding Student and Certificate Ceremony Speaker

When Josh discovered the welding program at RVC, he was already taking classes toward an engineering degree and planned on taking Intro to Welding as a prerequisite or an elective. At first, he just wanted to dabble in it, as he couldn't see it as a career. But Josh quickly discovered his passion. Welding was rewarding work and something he had the potential to be truly great at.

About three years ago, Josh took a leadership role in his company when COVID started to explode in the area. Soon, co-workers were turning to him for advice on what they should do about all sorts of outside issues, and his leadership role quickly grew. After a while, he decided he was no longer interested in a leadership position and started looking around to see what else he might be passionate about. "He seemed a bit burnt out, constantly a troubleshooter and giving 110%. This is a fault of any hard worker, and "Red" certainly is one. He's a talented welder and has since changed positions within his company to weld full-time," said Bill Isham.

Josh has been in manufacturing for 11 years and is still with the same employer. He changed careers there and has been a professional welder for several months. "CNC lathes and mills, it's sort of a pivot from machining into welding. Makes things fun. I don't know at this point if I'm a machinist who knows how to weld or if I'm a welder, who knows how to machine, but either way, it's a good combination," said Josh. He's never been happier with his job and can see himself improving more and more each day. "Josh is an excellent student. He came into our program as a machinist and supervisor of his department, "added Bill Isham. "He took classes mainly to improve his welding skills, as one aspect he used in his process at work." Josh works with stainless steel welding for food manufacturing, piping pressure vessels, mixers, homogenizers, the pharmaceutical industry, medicine, and food.

Looking ahead, Josh plans on continuing to take classes, whether it's CTE at the Advanced Technology Center or resuming the engineering degree that he started with the welding program. He's hoping the welding program expands and becomes a degree. "The core curriculum, state-of-the-art welding lab, and cutting-edge technology and equipment make this a good program.   But the guidance and knowledge from instructors like George Bane, Bill Isham, Jeff Petty, Rob Zezniewski, and the other ATC teachers and the energy they bring make this a truly great program," said Josh.

"Admittedly, Josh did benefit from that financially, but most importantly, you can tell he enjoys his work," said Bill Isham. We'll miss him as a student, but I'd like to think we'll have "Red" back as an adjunct sooner rather than later."