“I had been bartending and bar managing for 10 years but felt I was getting too old for that kind of work. I’m a self-taught welder — I’ve built small pieces of furniture and metal sculpture — but I wanted more formal and well-rounded training.
“The experience here has been super, very hands-on and fast. Ideally, I’d like to be a pipe welder in my next career. Byron Zarrabi is fantastic as an instructor, very hands-on and knowledgeable. He has a lot of experience to back up his teaching.
“What attracted me to welding is its stability; you can pursue it as a lifelong career. My advice is to think really long term about your career future. Stick with it, because once you have welding skills, a lot of possibilities open up.
“I looked at other schools, but after comparing them for the time and money commitment, I found this to be a far better program both in the amount of time it takes and in the hands-on experience. The equipment here is top-notch, and I did the math — this is a much better deal.”
Originally from California, Paul also owned his own beverage catering business for about a year and a half, but had to look for work elsewhere when the business “took a nose dive with the economy.” He took noncredit Welding classes at El Centro College’s Bill J. Priest campus.