It’s never too late to learn a trade.
Some 21 students of all ages from the Amazon Web Services in Tracy are doing just that, working towards their certification in welding.
They recently moved to their new facilities at the Manteca Adult School Community Maker Space at Lathrop High.
“This is exactly what we needed,” said Richard Mabugat, 42, who is one of the Amazon students. “There’s so much equipment here.”
The once vacant shop buildings – Principal Greg Leland indicated that these buildings were planned for shop classes – transitioned into a full fabrication shop with old school metal machines and hi-tech plasma cutters coupled with power coater / sandblaster and etcher cutters during past two years under Maker Space / Manufacturing Tech Ryan Costa.
Prior to that, he had his classes at BE.Tech Charter High School at the Manteca Unified complex.
The Amazon welding classes under Guy Bettencourt, a retired plant manager at nearby CBC Metal Buildings, moved from its Tracy location to Lathrop High on Sept. 16.
“What we had before was lackluster,” said Miguel de Castro, 27, comparing the two places. He and Mabugat have been with the program since June.
The multi-partnership in this endeavor consists of the Manteca Adult School program at Lathrop High working together with Amazon.
Manteca Adult School Principal Brad Harrison is hoping for this partnership will continue and eventually enhance his program.
“This is important piece,” said Bettencourt, who started off as a welder before becoming a supervisor and plant manager.
He’s thrilled with the new arrangement.
Bettencourt learned of the Lathrop High facility through his friendship with Costa. He believes in the trade school route for graduating high school students.
“If you know how to weld, you’ll always have a job,” he said.