Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical Welding student Dirk Dannhoff makes the beautiful 30 minute drive from La Crosse to the Winona campus each day. Already having a degree in Commercial Arts and Visual Communications, Dannhoff is studying welding at Southeast Technical not only for future career prospects in manufacturing, but he also plans to take these skills into the art studio.
As an artist, Dannhoff enjoys working with his hands. "To see a finished product is rewarding – or even fixing something. My grandpa used to say, 'If a person built it, a person can fix it,'" Dannhoff shares. "Dirk is a good student with a really good attitude," said welding instructor Keith (Casey) Mann. Students, like Dannhoff, who have at least a B average and spotless attendance will be assigned an internship this semester. Mann says that often these internships lead directly to employment; most companies will hire the student following completion of the internship.
"Casey has spent 27 years in the welding field and he knows what the workforce is looking for," says Dannhoff, "He's getting us ready for employment by treating us like employees." In the program students learn five different welding processes, two cutting processes and other basic skills to help them prepare for the workforce.
Dannhoff’s advice to others, "Don't let your background hinder you. I wasn’t sure at first what I had gotten into. I was the only one in the class who hadn't ever welded before. I stuck with it and really like it. I would recommend Southeast Technical. It's a good school, great program and beautiful drive!"