Youngstown agency opens welding school with help of $4 million award

Flying HIGH provides opportunities and job-training programs, as well as drug and alcohol treatment

A Youngstown non-profit was the only organization in Ohio to receive a $4 million award through the Department of Labor's TechHire Initiative.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown non-profit was the only organization in Ohio to receive a $4 million award through the Department of Labor’s TechHire Initiative.

Flying HIGH provides opportunities and job-training programs, as well as drug and alcohol treatment.

The money helped open the Professional Development Center’s new welding school, which has been training a new group of welders since September.

More aspiring welders will begin schooling in December, receiving training for four types of welding that are taught in 15-week programs.

“It is the quickest way to get into an employer, and not only get the skills training, but get hired by the employer and continue your training, and I think that’s what makes this program unique,” said Jeff Magada, executive director of Flying HIGH.

Workers will spend six months with employers, earning while they’re learning more.

It’s called a hybrid apprenticeship and it’s particularly valuable to someone who may have lost their job or are bouncing back from legal or drug problems, Magada said.

“It’s aiding because we do have a disproportionate amount of people who have a criminal background, have past addictions, have low education levels, so if we’re going to build the community, we need to build the people,” he said.

Employers benefit because they can fill vacancies quickly since they’re doing 50 percent of the training.

The welding program is one of Flying HIGH’s five vocational programs that combine accelerated classroom training with on-the-job training from employers.

Other programs include machining, State Tested Nursing, LPN and RN programs, which are open to anyone.

Flying HIGH has been in the Valley since 1994. Its next classes for welding training start in December.

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