Evan Retherford - Central Technology Center and SkillsUSA
State champion welder graduates high school with honors – AND a job offer.
THEN: He didn’t like it when his Ripley High School friends teased him about not knowing how to do metal work. It wasn’t that Evan Retherford couldn’t weld, it was simply a lack of training.
Before he signed up for an introduction to welding class, Retherford thought he wanted to be a truck driver. But after he finished the class, which was part of his agricultural education curriculum, he realized he enjoyed welding enough to enroll in a two-year welding program at Central Technology Center.
At Central Tech, he learned to weld, but he also
- Received numerous certifications, including OSHA 10, the Platinum level in the WorkKeys test, forklift certification, GMAW (gas metal arc welding), FCAW (flux-cored arc welding), SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding), PAC (plasma arc welding), CAC (carbon arc cutting) and fire extinguisher.
- Received the National Technical Honor Society award for having all A’s in his Central Tech classes as well as at least 97% attendance and an A/B grade point average at Ripley High.
- Developed important leadership skills.
- Improved his worth ethic.
- Placed first in the state in the welding sculpture event.
Retherford was Class of 2021 valedictorian at Ripley, and he was offered a full-time welding job before he graduated in May.
“Other people go to college, spend a lot of money and may not receive a good paying job at the end of it,” he said. "I wanted to prove you can make a lot of money working a trade.”
NOW: A welder at Ditch Witch in Perry, making $48,000 plus benefits, right out of high school. At that salary, it would appear that Retherford has proved his point.