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LBHS Welding Program Launches at TwispWorks

Barry Stromberger talks plans with Jerry Hixson. Hixson is one of the volunteers who helped Stromberger set up the welding shop.

Teens have a chance to build skills in a new welding program offered to Liberty Bell and Independent Learning Center students at the TwispWorks ‘Road Shop’.

Twisp metal artist and certified welding instructor Barry Stromberger worked with the Methow Valley School District to restart the welding program, which had been dormant for six years due to lack of a qualified instructor. Stromberger said he was inspired by strong student interest in welding. He also said the TwispWorks shop building offered an ideal location for the program.

“This is an industrial space with lots of room, overhead chain hoists, separate classroom and storage spaces and almost enough power to meet the needs. There is room to have workstations and do projects, and large roll-up doors,” said Stromberger.

Stromberger will teach 18 students the basics of welding, from stick welding to plasma cutting, in the nine-month course. He says the course will prepare students for entry-level jobs with local metalworkers, teach them to do their own projects safely, or move on to a community college welding certification program.

“The bottom line is learning skills, then making things. First we will learn safety and basic welding, then I want it to be project oriented”, he said.

Students will work on community projects including a customized recycling trailer for local company Methow Recycling Roundup. Stromberger hopes to also arrange for students to have some time to work on personal projects.

Twisp’s Hank Konrad pledged $8,000 to the program, and Stromberger hopes community members will match that amount to help cover the costs of the program.  Financial donations are tax deductible. Donations of welding-related equipment are also welcome.

Stromberger hopes to offer community and adult welding classes as well, as soon as insurance questions can be worked out.

For more information, go to

posted 9/1/11