Staff Spotlight - Ryan Johnson, Welding Instructor
If you stop by the Welding Department at Rockford Career College, you’ll be greeted with a warm smile and an enthusiastic “come on in!” from Ryan Johnson. Ryan, a 2019 graduate of Rockford Career College, now teaches Welding in the very same department he learned his skills.
“Teaching welding allows me to help individuals achieve their goals, in much the same way I have been able to because of this program,” says Ryan. “As a graduate of Rockford, I have a unique perspective into life during and after our students are with us.”
But, like many other students, Ryan didn’t find his true passion immediately after high school. “I attended a different school twice,” he says. “Both times I failed out due to the style of teaching and what I felt was the uncaring nature of the instructors. I had more motivation to hang out with friends than go to class.”
It wasn’t until he decided to give Rockford Career College a chance that he noticed a difference. “I immediately saw a shift in myself. I was excited to go to school. I noticed a culture and staff that truly cared about me as a student and my success. “It allowed me to stay motivated and gave me the drive to continue to go to class and try my absolute hardest.
Ryan graduated from the welding program and immediately began working at Don’s Welding in Loves Park. He’s now married with a son and another baby on the way. “My goal was and has continued to be, to make enough so that my wife does not have to work and can stay home with our kids. A career in welding allows me to provide for my family in the way I want to.”
He recently accepted a head trainer position at Stainless Tank and Equipment in Beloit, and will continue to teach in the welding program at Rockford.
“I love teaching this skill to others. Anyone can be a good welder, so long as they have the drive, motivation, and desire to always be willing to learn, even once they leave the program.”
And, Ryan adds, it is a field that will always be needed. “It’s impossible to fully automate the welding process, even as robotic welding becomes more prevalent in the field, you still need the human welder there.”
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