Michael Rios

COM student transforms from dropout to welder

After three months, two certificates and one job, Michael Rios’ life has changed.

Rios came to College of the Mainland without a high school diploma.

“I was going down the wrong path. I postponed college,” said Rios.

He began taking welding and GED classes simultaneously, paid for through the Accelerate Texas Grant.

A few months later, he landed a job as welding helper at Ohmstede in La Porte. He later was promoted to welder.

“The first time I got paid, I’ve never made a check like that in my life,” said Rios. “I’ve bought a new car and motorcycle and helped (my mom) buy another one.”

He is still attending classes to improve his skills.

“It’s not easy at all. If you don’t do it right, it can blow up or leak,” said Rios. “It’s really competitive. You want your stuff to be beautiful. You get a stamp with your initials so you can stamp your work.”

He has one more GED test – science – to complete and plans to continue with welding courses to learn other types of welding. 

“The only way to get good at welding is to put in time. I still have a long way to go. I’m not going to stop."

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