Alumni Spotlight: Zachary Gomez - Welding Program

As Zachary Gomez was passing through Santa Ana, he noticed Summit College’s campus. He used to do some welding but at the time was working a dead-end job in a machine shop. He knew something had to change.

“I really wanted to follow my passion – welding – and Summit just happened to pop up,” Gomez says. He stopped by the Santa Ana campus and decided it was exactly what he needed; he thought it could jump-start his career. Once he graduated – in 2016 – his career really took off.  Gomez learned TIG welding at Summit, passed the certification test and was hired by Stainless Steel Fabricators in La Mirada. While he worked there, Gomez kept in touch with Oscar, Summit’s lab instructor. “I was still trying to get certifications,” he says. There was a vacancy in the welding department, and Oscar suggested that he apply to be a lab instructor. “I thought about it and talked to Enrique, and the next thing you know, he made it happen,” he says. “It was a good thing because I could add it to my resume.” Gomez taught at Summit for almost seven months, sharing his expertise with welders-to-be.

Summit College prepared Gomez for the career that he loves. “It was quick and to the point,” he says. “Once you get certified, the sky’s the limit.” To be an ironworker, Gomez’s chosen profession, he needed D1.1 structural steel certification. Summit offered the two courses he needed, along with an opportunity for additional practice in the welding booth. “They have a period where you can come back and practice, and I took full advantage of that,” he says. The job placement assistance offered by Summit’s Career Services department has also been a big help. “I didn’t think I was going to get a job right away, but Career Services was always sending me links,” Gomez says. “They helped me redo my resume.” Now, Gomez is proudly putting his training to use working on multistory buildings. “During the construction phase, you go in the building and all those steel sites for stairs you go down – we put all those in, from one story all the way up to 11,” he says. “Right now we’re on a seven-story building. It’s pretty good. It’s fun to be up there!”

Gomez is not the only one who has benefited from a Summit College education. “I made several different friends at Summit, and they’re go-getters and they’re out in the field,” he says. “Every single one of them says ‘I’ve got an interview’ or ‘I’ve got a job.’ I’m sure it’s the education that did it.” Now a seasoned pro, Gomez has some advice for welders in training. “Just stick with it. If you don’t actually put the helmet on and sit in the booth and practice and repeat and repeat – make it a repetitive thing – it’s not going to work. If you’re dedicated, you can definitely make it a great career.”

Summit College’s welding program helps you build a career that serves multiple industries. You may choose to be a structural ironworker like Zachary Gomez, or you may decide to work on the country’s infrastructure of roads and bridges. Perhaps you will look toward a welding career in shipbuilding, aviation, mining or even nuclear energy.

In just nine months, you can learn hands-on training for the welding practices and techniques you need to get that important first job. Class schedules are flexible with day, afternoon and night courses that take your current situation into consideration. You’ll train in a state-of-the-art facility and begin with the basic skills welders need to succeed in their field. You’ll then move to the advanced program to build on those basic skills. You’ll learn:

  • Welding protocols, procedures, concepts and symbols
  • Shielded metal arc welding
  • Gas tungsten arc welding
  • Blueprint reading
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Oxyacetylene welding and cutting
  • Flux-cored arc welding

Professional welders teach the hands-on classes and offer crucial support in your learning process. Since they have all been doing work in the field, they know exactly what challenges you will face once you get out in the workforce.

In addition to the focused training on real-life welding situations, you will also learn to properly communicate with clients so that you can explain issues and deadlines.

According to O*NET OnLine, job openings for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States are projected to total 128,500 between 2014 and 2024. Summit College offers a comprehensive path for motivated individuals interested in a long-term welding career.

For more information or to register for classes, contact Summit College today. Classes are offered in Colton, El Cajon and Santa Ana.