MT VERNON — Sparks fly as someone enters the welding classroom at Mt. Vernon High School with students tucked away in their stations. The courses offer many opportunities for students once they graduate.

By being able to be hands-on with a trade, it has given two students a pathway into a career as soon as they leave high school to join the workforce.

Kolin Napier, a senior, said he has always been someone who enjoys working with his hands. When he saw that the welding course was available, he decided that it was something that would work well for him, and he decided to give it a try.

Napier explained that the students in his class are either in Welding One or Welding Two, two courses in one period.

Napier currently has an internship at Moorfeed in Greenfield where he is an assembly technician. Napier said that Moorfeed makes feeder bowls that go all around the world, and he works Mondays through Thursdays and will be in class on Fridays.

“It’s a small group of people — everyone knows everyone. All our bosses work in the shop with us,” said Napier when he talked about some of his favorite reasons for working at Moorfeed.

After graduating, Napier said his plan is to just continue working with Moorfeed full-time.

Junior Jack Thomas Hufty had an introduction to welding at a young age with his uncle and grandfather in the field.

During his sophomore year, Hufty decided to take Welding One, thinking it would be a cool experience.

“I really liked it. I decided to stay with it after my sophomore year and into my junior year,” Hufty said.

Next semester, Hufty said the course will specifically get into tig welding and bend tests. After he receives his certifications, Hufty said he plans to graduate early and go into the union or continue his apprenticeship at Estes, where he will have a job as soon as he graduates.

“If I can graduate early, I’ll be able to focus 100% on that and making a good living,” Hufty said.

So far, Hufty is mig welding certificated, stick certificated, and also oxyfuel and plasma cutting certificated. This year, Hufty is getting his tig certifications.

Hufty said that while tig welding is more challenging than cig or stick, he’s getting the hang of it and doing pretty well.

“My favorite thing (about welding) is the bend tests because it gives me a chance to hone in on my skills and let me see what I messed up and how I can be better,” Hufty said.

Jason Wiley, the welding teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, is also a Sheet Metal Journeyman and has been teaching welding since 2007. He has been teaching the welding courses at Mt. Vernon since 2021.

“I relate to students who enjoy working with their hands. We can lose students if we don’t provide these opportunities. When we can tie students to a skill that they love, it’s a win for everyone,” Wiley said.

Wiley said that one of reasons why he teaches is being able to see students achieve their dream jobs and later share how they’ve been successful in their welding careers.

Wiley said that while teaching the courses, he found out there was a need for feeder bowls in Hancock County, so by moving some of the curriculum around to where students learned gas tungsten arc welding earlier, this helped students like Napier get internships and jobs earlier.

Currently, about half of the students have internships in the advanced courses. In all the courses, there are approximately 38 students from Mt. Vernon, three from Greenfield-Central, two from New Palestine and one from Eastern Hancock.

Wiley said students can receive their educational certification provided by the American Welding Society (AWS). The welding students can also receive the American Welding Society SENSE program certifications.

“When students finish our welding courses, they have received 21 dual enrollment credits through Ivy Tech,” Wiley said.

While currently held at Mt. Vernon, welding classes will be one of the many offered at Amplify Hancock, the education center planned to be located at the corner of 300N and 200W, which will allow a place for these types of classes for all districts of Hancock County within a closer proximity of each school. All classes offered can be found at The completion date for Amplify Hancock is projected for the fall of 2026.