A High School Student Nearing College Graduation

Machines hum, metal sparks and concentration fills every corner of the room. It is midnight, but nothing is still inside the walls of Metalcraft of Mayville. Amongst the production, a Moraine Park student is hard at work fueling his passion and igniting his career.

Mason Higgins, of West Bend, was first introduced to welding while attending West Bend East High School. He took all the manufacturing courses available to him through the Start College Now program including Intro to Manufacturing, Advanced Manufacturing, Intro to Welding, Advanced Welding and a Manufacturing Capstone. He is 18, in his first year at MPTC and only a few credits shy of a college degree.

The Start College Now program enables high school students to enroll in occupational/technical courses and/or general education courses and earn high school and college credit at the same time.

“I was told by a couple of family members about welding and after looking at pictures and information online, I really wanted to try sticking some metal together,” Higgins said. “I took Intro to Welding as a high school freshman and after hours of welding time, I knew for certain this would be my career.”

Higgins began working at Metalcraft of Mayville as part of his high school’s Youth Apprenticeship program. Now, he works full-time, five nights a week from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. while taking courses at Moraine Park.

“The opportunities I got from Moraine Park’s partnership with my high school have helped me get ahead financially,” Higgins said. “I was able to start laying the groundwork for my future before graduating. I’m confident and prepared as I move into my next chapter.”

Higgins is enrolled in Moraine Park’s Welding program and takes classes at the West Bend Campus. He plans to finish his degree by December. In the future, his goal is to start his own portable welding business. He is already rebuilding a trailer to support an additional welder, an oxyfuel cutting set-up, tools and other essentials.

“My favorite part of welding is passing the bend test because it gives you such a good feeling knowing the weld actually did its job,” Higgins said. “Later, I look forward to the feeling of satisfaction knowing that I’ve built and repaired things that people are happy with, whatever the product may be.”

Read more stories like Mason’s in our Spring 2022 NEXT Magazine.

Written by Emilie Wilson