Bay College Welding major Ryan Taylor has been curious about welding since he was a high school student. By participating in Bay's welding program, he has taken several major steps towards finding a job in this field.
A Manistique native, Ryan graduated from Manistique Middle and High School in 2020. He chose Bay due to its location near his hometown, along with the experiences members of his family had at the college.
"Both my brothers ended up going there," he said.
According to Ryan, he had been interested in welding since the ninth grade. That year, he took an intro to welding class.
"Every year through high school then I would take a welding class, and I loved doing it, so I decided to just continue on in college with that," he said.
Ryan started taking classes at Bay during the fall 2020 semester. He has worked towards earning a welding certificate since then.
In Bay's welding program, Ryan studied arc welding, advanced arc welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, and oxy-fuel welding. He has also taken classes for a handful of other required credits.
"When you finish off, you get ... your welding certificate," he said.
Ryan said he has already earned his 3G and 4G certification for arc and MIG welding.
"I finished up my last day of school yesterday (April 21)," he said.
He was happy with both the quality of instruction he received at Bay and the opportunity his classes gave him to meet new people.
"Over at Bay, I made a new group of friends. I met a new instructor and he taught me different ways of welding - I got a lot more knowledge on the welding processes," Ryan said.
Since he began studying at Bay during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan's time as a Bay student was affected in some ways by the college's safety measures. However, he said these measures did not significantly detract from his Bay College experience.
"The steps for the pandemic weren't overwhelming, but they did have procedures in place to keep us still safe," he said.
Looking ahead, Ryan hopes to start working in the welding industry soon.
"My next step would be to find a decent job someplace - hopefully welding," he said.
He is aiming to find work in the Upper Peninsula. Fortunately, the region boasts a near-100-percent job placement rate for welders.
"I'd like to stay in the area, because I'm used to the small-town feel over in Manistique ... I like that," Ryan said.