Putting out digital fires, creating machine parts and welding were all in a day’s work for students in the COM Industrial Trades Career Exploration Camp June 15-19.

As he watched a lathe slice into aluminum to create a precision part, Evan Pratt, 14, of Texas City, said machining intrigued him as a career.

“I like machines, making stuff. You’re shredding it and shaping it into stuff like this,” said Pratt.

Clay Cook, 18, of Friendswood, just graduated from high school and enjoyed the hands-on practice with welding.

“I'm here to see if what I want to do (welding) is what I really want to do,” said Cook.

Students also learned about safety and avoiding industrial hazards.

“We learned about different fires and how to put it out,” said Pratt. “(The digital fire) had sensors, and you’d shoot water at it.”

Students also dove into process technology and mechanical maintenance careers, positions that pay well and are in high demand on the Gulf Coast.

“These camps are designed for the students to be immersed in the careers supported by COM degree or certificate programs. The point is not to lecture but to ‘touch and do,’” said Laura Baumgartner, COM Director of Continuing Education Industrial Workforce. “Students walked away feeling more confident when making the biggest decision ever – what am I going to do when I grow up?” 

Preparing students for any higher education or career decision they make, the camp covered how to complete a college application and apply for financial aid.

For more information about COM training for a high-demand job, call 409-933-8586 or visit www.com.edu/ce.