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Welding courses lead to quick success for Hodde Center student

Milano native Jason Paniagua finds employment even before he completes Blinn welding program

Jason Paniagua

July 10, 2017

Just a few months of welding as part of a summer job convinced Jason Paniagua to try a different career path.

Thanks to Blinn College’s A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center, Panigua quickly turned that realization into a quality job – before he even completed the Hodde Center’s welding program.

Paniagua showed animals and participated in Future Farmers of America while at Milano High School, and attended Blinn following graduation in 2015, but it was a summer job welding a fence that changed his career direction and convinced him to take welding classes at the Hodde Center.

“I enjoy beginning with the blueprints, then getting to work and seeing projects come together,” Paniagua said. “The small class sizes at the Hodde Center are more hands on, and I get a lot of one-on-one instructor help.”

Paniagua finished his Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding class and is now enrolled in Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. Even though he still has classes remaining to receive his certification, Paniagua received a job offer from Trox Manufacturing in Brenham and started working in May.

“Jason is a hard worker and he is aggressively trying to learn all that he can in the welding profession,” said Gary Hamilton, general manager at Trox. “I have hired students from Blinn in the past and they are all eager to learn more.”

Paniagua will continue attend classes to obtain his welding certificate and hopes to earn his associate degree from Blinn.

“Jason knows and understands weld processes, metallurgy, speed, feeds, and angles and pushes himself to learn more,” said John McGee, welding instructor. “I am extremely proud that he is working, attending class, and succeeding in both.”

Paniagua said his goal is to someday work in pipeline welding. The Hodde Center provides a basic certificate in welding. A possible career is structural or pipe welder where a graduate can work at a fabrication shop or construction related business.

According to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, jobs for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are expected to increase 17.2 percent from 2012 to 2022 and the median wage is $18.13 an hour.

Managed by Blinn’s Division of Technical and Community Education, the Hodde Center offers a variety of career development and leadership courses, as well as training for welders, machinists, forklift operators, oilfield workers, certified nurse aides, phlebotomy technicians, medication and other high-demand, high-wage careers. For a complete list of courses currently offered at the Hodde Center, visit: 

Blinn’s Division of Technical and Community Education improves the local economy by helping job-seekers obtain the skills and credentials they need to succeed in the workplace, and by partnering with local businesses to offer training opportunities for incumbent and new employees. For more information on Blinn’s workforce education opportunities, including class schedules and registration information, visit

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