The American Welding Foundation (AWS) awarded Justin Pickard and Paso Robles High School a $25,000 grant to expand outreach to underrepresented youth in our community. AWS is a nonprofit charitable organization that supports the growth and development of the welding industry through research and educational opportunities.
“We are seeking to find a way to bridge over those stereotypes that might otherwise detour students from becoming involved in the welding courses taught at the high school and eventually the welding industry," Pickard said.
Pickard is a welding teacher and the current Paso Robles Joint Unified School District teacher of the year.
The grant will help Paso Robles High School make information and skills accessible to younger students of the community, who might not otherwise have the same opportunity to develop those skills in safety and welding.
The school district is targeting areas of Paso Robles that include minority or under-represented populations, mainly Hispanic and female students.
Currently, there are 49.6% female students and 51.66% Hispanic students at Paso Robles High School and only 10.37% female and 45.18% Hispanic populations in the welding program.