‘I can’t believe I get paid for this’

How a welding degree led one woman to adventure, danger, and the life she always wanted

“From the moment I picked up a rod in my hand and laid that first bead, I knew it was for me,” explained welder Christie Moore, who graduated from Centralia College’s two-year welding program in 2015.

“People are amazed when they find out what I do and where I’ve worked,” she said. “I’ve worked at Boeing, Hanaford, at dams across a five-state region. Just last week I was up 250 feet, up on a bridge hanging from a strap. It’s intense. It’s dangerous. It’s an extraordinary adventure and I can’t believe I get paid for it.”

Moore, a longtime Lewis County resident, knew she didn’t want an office job, but struggled to find her place. She worked odd jobs, relied on friends and family when she had nowhere to stay, and had no stability from day to day. She needed a change.

“Centralia College was the first step for me. I knew I needed to go to school for welding because I wanted to be certified. I wanted to be legit and not just start in my garage,” she described, adding “Centralia College was the only choice for me…it’s a family and I felt welcome. I felt like I was part of a community here.”

In addition to the hands-on training in welding, Moore benefited from the structure of attending college and learning a trade she can take anywhere. She learned what it meant to be a good employee, to arrive on time, put in a full day’s work, and have others rely on her in high-stakes situations. She’s now living the life she always wanted, and doing work that suits her personality.

For those considering a career in the trades, Moore recommends starting now.

“The way the work is going, this is where the opportunities are going to be,” she said. “The trades are one thing that is not going to disintegrate over time…It’s open ended. You get your degree. You get your certifications. You can go anywhere in the world, do anything you want.”

For more information on programs and opportunities at Centralia College, visit http://www.centralia.edu.

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