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COM STUDENT FINDS HER NICHE AS A PIPEFITTER

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(Texas City)— For Vanessa Webb, academics came easily
and pursuing a four-year degree was a natural choice.
It was only after getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology
with a minor in criminal justice that she considered
construction trades as a career option.
Now, she’s enrolled at College of the Mainland, training
to be a pipefitter.
Webb is following in the steps of her grandfather, who
was a pipefitter and taught her early to work with her
hands.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s one of those things that
clicked. I wish that I had done it beforehand. It’s not that
I regret having a degree, but I wish that I had done this
originally.”
“I feel like it’s better to be doing something not only that
I enjoy but where I can see my work.”
Webb lives in Santa Fe, so College of the Mainland was
a logical choice of where to train – but proximity wasn’t
the only attraction the college offered.
The fact that COM trains for National Center for
Construction Education and Research certification was a
big selling point. “At the time I started looking, I didn’t see
any other NCCER programs,” Webb said. “I’ve noticed
a lot of jobs around here lately are asking for NCCER
certification.”
Even with certification, Webb said she expects to start
as a helper. “I’m not going to immediately be a pipefitter.
But what this class does is gives you the experience
where you might start as a helper, but you’re going to
move up quickly, because you’re going to know all this
information; you’re going to know how to use these tools,
and what they’re talking about, and how to read a drawing
and do the math on a drawing.”
One of the challenges to returning to school was that
financial aid was more difficult to find since Webb already
had a degree. There, too, College of the Mainland helped
by connecting her with grants and scholarships that cover
the costs of the program.
Webb said she has already encouraged a co-worker to
look in to the College of the Mainland program. “Find your
niche. It took a while, but that’s what I did.”

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