Morgan McKinley

Morgan McKinley - Graduate of Ready Arc Training and Testing

Morgan McKinley

Let’s take a minute to meet Morgan! She’s a go-getter that didn’t slow down one bit after graduating early from high school last year. She finished a carpentry course straight out of KVHS, then decided she really wanted to make sparks fly – so she switched gears and came here to get her welding career moving.


Morgan, what were you up to before coming here?

I was in high school last year and had all the credits I needed to graduate. I had also taken every shop course there was, so I went to the guidance counselor and said “I don’t want to be here anymore”. I ended up graduating a semester early and decided to take a 16-week carpentry course. I finished that, got my certificate and worked throughout the summer – but decided it wasn’t for me. I had been by Ready Arc already and had been talking to Jason, and decided that this is what I wanted to do.


Why welding?

I took metals pro in high school. That was my first shop course and I was completely discouraged from it because I didn’t like the lathe, it was not my thing. I was like “no, I don’t want to take welding” …but then my teacher convinced me and I tried it. We got to pick a project and worked all semester on it. It was our final grade at the end of the course, and I built a transport out of metal. I ended up loving it because it was like art, and I love art. I did take carpentry first out of high school, but I already knew I liked welding from that experience.


What made you choose Ready Arc?

Carter, my boyfriend. He’s upstairs right now. Honestly, he was already enrolled in the course, so it made for an easier transition for me. The carpentry program I took was all females, so that made it easier to get into the trade and feel comfortable. But coming here, I may have felt discouraged if I didn’t already know somebody, even though I knew I liked welding. I did know one other student that I’ve gone to school with too. That made a difference for me.


So, how were your six months with us?

It’s been wild. There were definitely ups and downs. I worked part-time the whole time, so trying to balance coming here and going to work was a lot. I mean, it flew by. It doesn’t even feel real.

As far as courses, math was always easy for me – it was just fun because I love math. Blueprint was probably the hardest because I hadn’t been exposed to it before, so it was all new. Welding theory was a lot of studying. But everything makes so much more sense when you go down into the shop to actually do it the same day you learn it in the classroom. For example, one day Steve explained the inside mechanics of a machine. When you just hear it or read it in a book, you’re like “what does this mean?”…but then you go down into the shop and he tears everything apart and shows you and it starts to make sense. Same thing when I changed my wire for the first time. The first time it was scary, but now I can comfortably do it. You do everything over and over and you get used to it.


You made it to graduation day. What’s next?

I’m hoping to get into welding inspections, so if there’s not much work in one I can do the other. I want to try to figure that out because I do want to weld, but I also want to get into inspections so as I’m getting older and having a family, it’s not as physically demanding on my body.

When I came here, my plan was “I’m going to weld for probably 10 years” to get the experience. Then I thought maybe I’d teach because the teachers from my high school are probably the main reason I’m here. All my teachers were amazing and went above and beyond (I was the only girl in all of them). I think it would be a game-changer if there was a female shop teacher. That was my intention, and that’s still not closed, but I’m not totally sure about going back to school again and everything that comes with teaching. Jason introduced me to the option of welding inspections. I’m looking into that too as I weld for now. Like he says, your options are endless starting from here and you can change your mind later.