Graduate Connections – Meet Jose Lorenzo

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Jose, 20, was born in Mexico but settled in Georgia as a child with his family. Jose graduated from the seven-month Professional Welder program at Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville in January 2023.

Thanks for your time, Jose. What did you do before Tulsa Welding School?

I came to Tulsa a month after high school. I graduated high school kind of late; I was 19. But I also did some fencing work, and I also had a part-time job at a retail store. I was ready to get welding school done sooner, rather than keep working and wait.

That makes sense. Sooner you start, sooner you earn! Where did the idea of welding come from?

I took welding as a one of my classes in high school, that’s where I learned the basics of it. But I didn’t take it that seriously until my senior year. My welding teacher had talked to us about Tulsa Welding School, and I found it interesting. I think it’s a good way to start to a career in welding.

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How long did you weld in high school?

I took it for my whole time in high school, but as I said, I only really took in serious in my last year.

Are there any welders in your family?

No, I’m the first.

That’s cool – are they proud of you?

Yes, they actually are. They were very supportive of me going to welding school, especially my brother. My brother was the one that actually gave me the support to go and do it.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Tulsa Welding School?

Probably meeting new people – the students and instructors. The instructors would share what we could expect to face in the field in the future. They shared their experiences with us and that was very useful. They were willing to talk to us about what to expect, and what to do when something comes up.

Jose Lorenzo 1

How was learning to weld at welding school different to welding at high school?  

There’s a lot more detail at welding school, we went through a lot more processes. In high school I mostly did Stick, so I had more process to learn from the beginning. It was much more detailed.

How was the welding program? Did it come easy, or did you have frustrations?

It actually came pretty easy for me. I actually studied, took my time, and did my thing.   

What class did you do? Did you have a job at school?

I did morning classes and worked part-time at Home Depot in the afternoons. When I got days off, I would stay late in the booth at school to get more practice in.

You finished class two weeks ago. Where are you working?

I work at W International in South Carolina. I’m two weeks into seven weeks of training; it’s going pretty well. It’s interesting. They build submarine parts, aircraft carrier parts, aircraft parts, and all that.

Congratulations. How did you get the job?

W International had a representative come to Tulsa Welding School about three months before I finished, and I found it pretty interesting. I thought it would be a good opportunity to take.


So, the job was yours if you wanted it when you were done with school?

Yes. They gave an offer to the students that were in the class, and they said that if people wanted to take the offer, to give them a call and they’ll set it up.

That’s cool to have an offer waiting three months before you graduate. Are you happy with the money?

Yeah, I’m happy where I’m starting out. I mean, I’m just beginning my career, so the only way is up from here.

What’s your career plan?

I plan on sticking with W International for at least two years to get some experience, and then after that, I want to try to join the union. I want to do TIG welding, that’s the main thing I want to do.

What kind of things would you be welding for the union?

It’ll be pipe and boilers and all that. I’d like to go traveling and weld all over the country, that’s where the real money is.  


What do you enjoy most about your new trade?

I think the fact that it comes easy to me. It makes your day go faster; you get so absorbed by your weld, there’s no distractions, and time just flies by. Welding puts me in a good mood!

Did you make some connections at school, people you want to stay in touch with?

I’m keeping in touch with a few of my classmates and my roommate from down in Jacksonville. They stayed on at Tulsa to take the Pipefitting program. My roommate here, Sam, took the afternoon class so I didn’t know him, but it was a good thing I met him in time to come up here. Some of his friends from the afternoon class are moving up here to start at W International next week.

What advice do you have for people to be successful at Tulsa Welding School?

If they actually do want to be successful, they have to put in the work and stay in their booth. Not just weld something and then go off somewhere for half an hour and come back. If you want to be successful at school, you have to put in the work and stay in your booth and practice. One other thing; don’t be scared to ask your instructor questions, they are always willing to help.

If you’re a TWS graduate and would like to share your success and be an inspiration to others, please email [email protected] to be considered for a Graduate Connection interview. Please include details such as your graduation date (month/year), program, and campus name (Tulsa/Jacksonville/Houston).