What happens when you see a disconnect in your industry between skilled workers and employers? For Eliud Medina, School Director of Southern Industrial Careers Center, the solution was clear: build that missing link between employers and employees.
Eliud’s path to founding SICC, which offers vocational training in welding and fabrication, began when he was working as a certified welder. He spent many years in the field, but was laid off in 2014 due to the recession. He took it as a signal to take his career to the next level. While Eliud took some time to contemplate his next steps, he took stock of the welding industry and noticed that employers were having a hard time locating skilled welding recruits who were already trained.
While Eliud was pondering how he could solve this issue in the field, a local college invited him to become an instructor. The pay wasn’t great, but Eliud saw it as an opportunity to grow. He enthusiastically took the job, determined to get to work and learn from the role. What he discovered in his next two years at the school would end up shaping the rest of his career — and his approach to SICC.
Getting Students Into The Field
Eliud loved the school itself and enjoyed his day-to-day teaching responsibilities. However, he wasn’t so impressed with the school’s leadership structure. Eliud quickly noticed that the school had a tough time providing students with top-tier resources and lacked the relationships with welding employers that could help students land jobs after graduating. He saw his students suffer because of a lack of access to networking opportunities, job placement services, and immersive internships. He’d watch one bright spark of a student after another show promise in the classroom setting but struggle to find a well-paying welding job.
Eliud knew that the real way to help students grow their careers is through internships, where they could strengthen their training and get to know professionals in their field. He also knew that the real way to help companies utilize these talented new welding graduates was to match them with each other. In an economy where you need both skills and real world experience to succeed — both as a business and as an employee — Eliud wanted a one-stop shop that could offer it all. So he created one.
In 2017, Eliud founded Southern Industrial Careers Center in La Feria, Texas. SICC utilizes highly experienced instructors to educate students in welding and fabrication trades. SICC doesn’t just train students: top-notch, world-class instruction is just the first step. SICC also builds an unprecedented connection between welding employers and skill-building welders to create a first-of-its-kind training and hiring hub.
Building Career Connections
In addition to working with individual students and trainees, SICC offers programs for cohorts of employees who already have roles at welding companies and need to sharpen their skills. SICC also helps their students customize their resumes and find the perfect professional uses for their training with local employer connections. The school even helps students seek out financial resources to help them afford their courses and can help welding employers utilize federal aid to help fund their employees’ training.
One of Eliud’s favorite aspects of the school is his ability to help welding companies find and hire the talent they need most. Eliud’s unique combination of experience as both a welding inspector and educator enables him to make sure every student has what it takes to succeed — and to match them with the companies they’ll be the greatest asset to. Southern Industrial Careers Center helps welding companies save money and time by sending trained students directly to them. In an industry where employers are often expected to pick up the cost of training, this is a welcome change of pace.
Preparing Students For A Brighter Future
Through the economy’s ups and downs, one fact remains consistent: the U.S. needs skilled welders. 60% of the products and machinery we use require welding, and the country needs welders to keep the economy moving. SICC plays a part in this by providing one of the most comprehensive welding internship programs in the state of Texas. In addition to training welders who are new to the workforce, SICC offers welding training programs to seasonal workers, farm workers, and people living below the poverty line to teach them new lucrative skills to support their career paths.
Eliud founded SICC with a vision of helping the community it serves, which is why job placement is at the forefront of every SICC program. Eliud wants to offer something better than the school he worked at, where people can expect that their investment in their education will lead to rewarding and stable work. SICC is an antidote to common educational dead-ends.
With a second location newly opened, a low teacher-to-student ratio, and valuable one-on-one instruction, SICC is ready to help match welding companies with the talent they need. Whether a student is just embarking on their welding career or simply needs to brush up on skills, SICC has everything they need to graduate as capable and diligent welders who are ready to get to work.
Eliud Medina is an educator, welder, and School Director at Southern Industrial Careers Center, a vocational school focused on industrial trades in welding and fabrication. Eliud and SICC have been featured on Yahoo! Finance, Morning Star, Star Tribune and more. Looking to hire qualified welders or advance your own welding career? Check here.