The sky’s the limit for August Sowle when she graduates from Meridian’s Precision Metal Fabrication program this May. Sowle hopes to land a job in the aerospace field.
Just two years ago in the middle of the pandemic, she had no reliable income and was having trouble getting ahead. At 22 and with the constant support of the Nana who raised her, she applied and was accepted to Meridian’s Precision Metal Fabrication program. There, she found her spark.
“She taught me to sew. I realized making blueprints and welding couldn’t be that different,” said Sowle. “I did the research and told myself, ‘I can do this.’”
Sowle is finding success. In April she’s headed to compete in the state SkillsUSA competition after placing second in regionals in the welding competition. The competition assesses a competitor’s ability to read blueprints as well as the precision of their welding and fabrication abilities.
With interests like sewing, calligraphy and painting, welding has been a good fit. The same attention to detail, focus and creativity needed in her hobbies have been helpful to Sowle’s abilities in the Precision Metal Fabrication program
“The welding and fabrication industry is broad and diverse in the skills needed to be successful and adaptable. August has done an excellent job of learning and applying many of those skills,” said Justin Nisbett, Precision Metal Fabrication Instructor.
“She is very good at operating the fabrication equipment in the shop and reading and applying shop detail drawings and weld symbols. Her welding skills are among the best in the class, especially her TIG welding abilities,” he added.
Sowle said she found qualities like persistence and assertiveness helped her establish herself, particularly as the only female in the program. “I’m confident in my abilities,” Sowle said about the career path she’s chosen to pursue. “I have gained the skills to back up my confidence.”
Sowle considers herself good at TIG welding, a process that’s ideal for work that requires precision and is often difficult to master. She likes working with stainless steel and would prefer an organized shop environment as she looks to her next step after graduation.
“It’s pretty standard that the aerospace field works with alloys such as stainless steel and aluminum, and it’s an industry that requires clean, precise welds,” she said of her plans. “You have to be careful with quality control. Planes operate in a pressurized environment under a lot of stress.”
With no previous experience in welding, fabrication or even a related background, Sowle shared that the education she found at Tech provided a foundational level to advance from. She offers advice to others, especially women, who may be considering a similar career path, “Just go for it. It’s a diverse field. There’s something for everyone. Don’t be afraid to try it.”
Plan Now for Career Training at Tech
The adult application process begins on April 1. Adult students can enroll in any of Meridian’s career training programs that have openings, with the exception of the STEM Academy. Evening Cosmetology, Health Informatics, Practical Nursing and Radiological Technology are adult-only programs with separate applications and deadlines. Tuition varies for each program. Visit meridiantech.edu/programs to explore training options. Online enrollment for adult students can be found at meridiantech.edu/adults.
High school, home-school and virtual school students who live in the district can attend tuition free during their junior and senior years. Sophomores can enroll in afternoon programs when space is available. The STEM Academy with Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Engineering programs is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students spend a half day at their home high school and half a day with Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian offers free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credit for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives depending on their high school.