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CTE Success Story: Derrick Etling says he graduated with skills and confidence to find success as a welder

February 10, 2023

Cape May CTE Month Success Story profile of Derrick EtlingDerrick Etling, of Ocean City, said the quality of education he received at Cape May County Technical Schools (CMCTS) prepared him for a successful career as a welder.

“In the field, no one cares if you know everything the books have to say; they only care how high quality your work is,” Etling added. “The work I displayed reflected the excellent education I received at CMCTS, which was as close to a real-world experience as possible without ever leaving the classroom.”

After graduating from Cape May Tech’s welding program in 2013, Etling went on to the Hobart Institute of Welding. Today, he is employed by the Riley Power Group, which is headquartered in Pinehurst, N.C. He currently works for the company as a specialty welder in Rhode Island, where he is helping to build new submarines for the Navy. “I am working to uphold very stringent standards and practices to deliver a quality weld in a safe manner,” he added.

Although Etling is now a few steps removed from high school, he has continued reflecting on the start he got in his welding program.

“For starters, the program helped me build enough confidence in my skills to be able to succeed in the welding world,” he said. “The well-established certification test at the end of the program was proof of that because the person tested is held to the same standards and codes that are utilized in onsite client weld-testing.”

Having the experience of welding with an outside certified welding instructor and third-party testing drove home everything that his CMCTS teacher, Tom Jackson, instilled in him during his years in the program. The constant practice and the goals that were set in class were the building blocks for real-world application.

He continued, “To this day I am still using the skills I learned at CMCTS. I credit my education with building my confidence, teaching me to be humble, reinforcing my work ethic, and making my current and future successes possible.”

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