Path Home Shows 2013 Show Archive May 2013 Show 1318 Sparking a New Career

Sparking a New Career

This young welding student says being deaf isn’t a disability, but a way of life that helps him concentrate more on what he is doing.
Sparking a New Career

Sparking a New Career

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Show Details

Show 1318: Sparking a New Career
Air Date: April 7, 2013

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON: WELL IT IS UNDERSTANDABLE THAT A DEAF PERSON COULD FEEL ISOLATED IN THE WORKPLACE, MISSING OUT ON INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS AND OFFICE CHATTER THAT CAN HAPPEN OUT OF THEIR LINE OF SIGHT. BUT THE YOUNG MAN IN OUR NEXT STORY IS ONE WHO SAYS HIS HEARING IMPAIRMENT MAKES HIM MORE FOCUSED, AND ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON THE TASK AT HAND. OUR ALISA HINES EXPLAINS.

ALISA HINES: METAL BEGINS TO GLOW WHEN JOSHUA MCELHANY STARTS TO WORK.

JOSHUA MCELHANY: WELL, I WANTED TO BECOME A WELDER, BECAUSE I KNOW THERE ARE DIFFERENT JOBS IN THESE AREAS THAT I’D REALLY LIKE TO DO. BUT IT’S DIFFICULT TO LEARN THAT ON MY OWN. SO I WANTED TO TAKE SOME COURSES AND MAYBE ADVANCE. I KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WELDING BUT I WANTED TO ADVANCE MY SKILLS. I WANTED TO BECOME MAYBE A SPECIALIZED WELDER IN A CERTAIN AREA.

ALISA: AS YOU CAN TELL, JOSHUA IS DEAF. AND WHILE WE HAVE AN INTERPRETER HELPING US WITH THE INTERVIEW, JOSHUA NORMALLY WORKS WITHOUT ONE, BUT THAT DOESN’T KEEP HIM FROM COMMUNICATING IN CLASS.

MCELHANY: HE SHOWS ME THINGS UNTIL I UNDERSTAND. AND I HAD NO INTERPRETER HERE. THERE WAS NO INTERPRETER, BUT HE’S BEEN VERY GOOD TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME.

ALISA: MATTHEW SEWELL IS HIS INSTRUCTOR.

MATTHEW SEWELL: AT FIRST IT WAS A LITTLE DIFFICULT. BUT WHEN HE COME IN, WANTING IN THE PROGRAM, HE ASKED ME TO HELP HIM BECOME A PIPE WELDER, AND I SAID I WILL IF YOU HELP ME TO LEARN HOW TO SIGN. AND HE SAYS I WILL.

MCELHANY: YOU KNOW, I’LL TEACH HIM A FEW SIGNS AND HE KNOWS A LITTLE BIT NOW, BUT YOU KNOW, HE TEACHES ME WELDING AND I’VE TAUGHT HIM A LITTLE BIT OF SIGNS.

ALISA: USING BODY LANGUAGE AND EVEN SOME HOMEMADE SIGNING, JOSHUA EVEN HELPS THE YOUNGER STUDENTS IN HIS CLASS.

SEWELL: I WISH HE WOULD STAY AND WOULDN’T EVER LEAVE BECAUSE HE’S HELPING ME OUT QUITE A BIT IN THE SHOP. I HAVE SHOP FOREMANS, YOU KNOW WEEKLY SHOP FOREMANS, BUT HE’S LIKE A FULL-TIME SHOP FOREMAN. HE HELPS ME OUT KEEPING AN EYE ON EVERYTHING. AND WHENEVER I HAVE STUDENTS WORKING ON PROJECTS HE’LL STEP IN AND HELP THEM OUT ALSO, BECAUSE HE’S A PRETTY ADVANCED STUDENT.

ALISA: AND THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR JOSHUA.

MCELHANY: WELL MY GOAL WHEN I GRADUATE, I WOULD LIKE TO GO MAYBE WORKING IN THE PIPELINES, CONSTRUCTION, OR IN THE OILFIELD WORKING ON THE PIPELINES OR GAS LINES, CONSTRUCTION, WORKING WITH THE WELDING.

SEWELL: IF HE WANTED TO PUT A TRUCK TOGETHER, PUT A WELDER ON IT, HE’S ALREADY STATE CERTIFIED SO HE’S GOOD TO GO. THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOSH, THERE’S GOING TO BE A LOT OF THEM BECAUSE HE’S AN ADVANCED WELDER, HE’S GOT A STATE CERTIFICATION, AND HE’S A DRIVEN INDIVIDUAL.

ALISA: LIGHTING UP THE WORLD ONE WELD AT A TIME.