At an early age, Nash Hertlein (’22) knew he wanted to work with his hands. He loved woodworking with his grandfather, so he took some shop classes. Then, during one of his first visits to Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, the Machining and Welding program caught his attention.
“When I found out you could do a lot of those same things with metal, that’s why I wanted to come to BOCES,” Hertlein said.
Hertlein signed up for Machining and Welding and learned the basics of both professions. Through the program, he gained real-world machining experience, working in quality control and assisting professionals in the industry. One of his favorite memories at BOCES was advancing to the SkillsUSA state competition.
“That was my favorite thing to do,” he said. “Everyone was super friendly. It was just nice to see people who enjoy the same thing you do. Even when we weren’t in competition, it was so much fun.”
Though he learned basic machining and welding skills in the program, Hertlein decided he wanted to do more welding work. He enrolled at the Rochester Arc and Flame Center and earned six welding certifications in the process. He graduated in January.
Now, Hertlein plans to work at Cobra Motor Homes and Trailers in Wayne County, where he will weld frames for trailers. After some time, he hopes to move to Florida and explore a new challenge: underwater welding.
“There’s saturation diving, where they put you down really deep and you weld on pipelines under the water- that’s usually done in the ocean,” Hertlein said. “For fresh water, wall reinforcements in place for flooding always have to be welded. It’s really cool.”
A potential career as an underwater welder might not have been possible if Hertlein had not taken Machining and Welding at BOCES. He said that both industries are great fits for those who are creative, like working with their hands, and enjoy problem-solving.
“I’d still do it every time,” Hertlein said. “There’s no super big commitment- if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But I think it’s a good spot to get your toes wet and see if you really have fun with the industry before you get serious about it and spend a lot of money.”