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Local wins Southeast Paul D. Edge Welding Apprenticeship Award

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Chance Ellison of Jemison has won the 2017 Paul D. Edge Welding Apprenticeship Award for the Southeast, and will be competing at nationals in August.

At the Southeast competition, Ellison was up against nine other welders.

“I went through the boilermakers’ apprenticeship program, which is four years long, and at the end of that they picked one person out of our class to be apprentice of the year to go to Louisiana for the competition,” Ellison said.

The week-long competition included welding, rigging and other hands-on demonstrations involved in the trade. Competitors are judged on technique, safety and finishing on time. Ellison said the most challenging aspect was “keeping my nerves calm.”

To prepare for the competition, Ellison said he studied and received additional on-the-job training.

Ellison said he was surprised he won the competition, but it was nice to see that “all the hard work paid off.”

The week-long national competition will be in Denver, Colorado. Ellison said he is preparing and will concentrate on staying focused during the competition.

It was Ellison’s uncle, who was a welder, that first sparked Ellison’s interest in the industry. Ellison took his first welding classes at LeCroy Career Technical Center, then continued his education with college.

“I started working for the Boilermakers, then I got in their apprenticeship program,” Ellison said.

He said he enjoys the pay and benefits of the job.

Ellison said he was thankful for “everyone that supported me” throughout his training and the competition.