Indiana agriculture teachers used to offer adult classes to supplement their income and provide people opportunities to learn new skills.
That’s not as common anymore, but Blake Hackman wants to change that.
The Brownstown Central High School agriculture teacher and FFA adviser is teaching an introductory welding class for adults in the fall.
The class, which will be for anyone out of high school, will be from 7 to 9 p.m. six Thursdays in October and November in Hackman’s classroom. He needs between five and 12 adults to be able to offer the class.
By helping with various sculptures in the county in recent years, people found out Hackman taught welding at the school and often asked if he also taught adults.
“Probably five years ago in my head, I started thinking I need to do that. With a student teacher here this fall, it’s like this is the perfect time to do it if I’m going to do it.”
The Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board of trustees recently agreed to allow Hackman to offer the class. The $50 fee covers the cost of materials, and the corporation is covered insurance-wise, too.
Once school starts back up in August, Hackman said he will work with the superintendent’s office to set up registration for the class.
The course will cover five areas — arc welding, metal inert gas welding, tungsten inert gas welding, oxy-fuel welding and plasma cutting. Safety and techniques for each area also will be taught.
“There will be different subjects each night, so if they want to skip a week, they can do so if it’s an area they are not interested in,” Hackman said.
By having a student teacher in his high school classroom this fall, it will allow Hackman to spend some time preparing for the adult class.
Welding has been a class option at Brownstown since Hackman started teaching there.
“I teach three classes a year of welding, and they love it. They fill every class,” he said. “It’s fun. I enjoy it.”
The high school and adult welding classes provide basic knowledge. Hackman is not able to provide certifications, so a person would have to go to a vocational school to earn those.
“It’s a life skill,” he said of welding. “It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you’ve learned how to weld, you may not do it for 10 years, and it’ll come back just like that.”
Hackman said he knows of several local industries that are seeking mechanics and welders to fix machines.
“You can make money as a career,” he said.
If there is a large demand for the adult welding class, Hackman said he may offer another one in the spring. Other classes, such as landscaping, are possible, too, if people are interested.
“If people are wanting to learn a new skill, why not?” he said. “If that’s what your community wants, that’s what you do.”