Unveiling the Spark: Caden Hall’s Welding Journey

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Caden Hall embarked on his journey to become a welder two years ago, during his junior year at Arkansas High School. His decision to enroll in the welding program at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Secondary Career and Technical Education Center was a turning point in his career journey. Hall earned a Technical Certificate in Welding before graduating high school, making him workforce-ready upon graduation in 2024.

Reflecting on his experience, Hall shared, “The UAHT Career Center offers an exceptional welding program for students interested in mastering the trade. My time at UAHT was a spark for my personal and professional growth. The college provided a comprehensive learning experience, covering everything from pipe welding to aluminum welding, flux welding, and more. The welding lab at the UAHT Texarkana campus is a state-of-the-art facility, equipped with everything one needs to excel in welding.”

Caden and his mother, Chelsea Tucker, attribute much of Caden’s success to the invaluable guidance of UAHT welding instructor Bob McFarland. “Mr. Bob was instrumental in helping me become the welder I am today,” Hall said. “When I started classes at UAHT, I was a little overwhelmed. However, Mr. Bob’s encouragement and motivation helped me realize I could succeed. He was a great instructor and helped me learn something new every day.”

Caden’s mother, Chelsea, said McFarland is truly a dedicated teacher with an obvious passion to see his students succeed. “As a parent, it is so encouraging to know that we have passionate teachers and a program right here in Texarkana that offers timely training and encourages students to chase their dreams,” Tucker said. “Mr. Bob has given Caden more than just training on being a good welder but also to be successful in life.”

Hall explained that the help from his instructor went beyond the classroom. “Mr. Bob even helped me design and build my welding truck so I could start my own welding side business,” Caden said. “He also helped me land an internship with Ledwell, where I now work full-time. His support made all this possible for me.”

Chelsea stated that the UAHT Career Center program not only helped Caden recognize his strengths and uncover hidden talents but also led to a meaningful internship at Ledwell that turned into a full-time job, enabling him to put his classroom training into real-life application. “Caden’s dream was to have his own business and to become a successful welder, and with the combined support of UAHT, TASD, his teachers, advisors, and family, he was able to realize his career path quickly,” Tucker said. “Not all students are college-bound after graduation; many plan to enter the workforce. So, having access to pursue a career while still in high school is amazing for students and helps ensure that our region has a skilled workforce that contributes to economic growth. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students at TASD and other high schools to gain hands-on training for specific trades and to create a pathway to success. And one of the greatest benefits is that it is absolutely free.”

Caden said that he would recommend UAHT and the Secondary Career Center to everyone because of the personal instruction and support you receive there. “They really care about you there; it was a great experience for me,” he said. “I am happy that I chose this career path and have become a part of the UAHT family!”

About the UAHT Secondary Career and Technical Education Center:
The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Secondary Career &Technical Education Center is an area secondary career center located on UA Texarkana Campus and the UA Hope Campus. The Secondary Career Center provides area high school juniors and seniors with the unique opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school at no charge. The center’s curriculum serves as an extension of the high school curriculum offerings by providing students with hands-on experiences in a variety of career fields taught by UAHT Faculty. To learn more, visit https://www.uaht.edu/academics/career-center.php.

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