Welding Program ’19
Cherie Werts first started at College of The Albemarle (COA) in the fall of 2014. She chose COA because it offered a variety of classes that she sought out. When she first started, a career in welding wasn’t what she had originally planned for. “At first, I just wanted to take the Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) class for fun,” Werts said. She enjoyed it to such an extent that she continued taking courses to complete the Welding program. “I learned so much and fell in love with welding that I saw it as a future career.”
Werts obtained a Basic Certificate in Welding Technology in December 2014. She began working, but returned to COA to graduate with her diploma in Welding Technology in July 2019. Hired by Sumitomo Drive Technologies in March 2017, Werts first started as a Welder Apprentice. “I had been laid off at the Shipyard (Norfolk Naval) and looking for a new job when I got in touch with Mr. Lopes. He told me about Sumitomo Drive Technologies.” In less than a year after she was hired, Werts was promoted to Welder/Fitter I which gave her the opportunity to weld larger weldments. She was also sent to a school in Seattle where she learned how to operate the new waterjet and became the primary operator. The year 2019 brought about an additional promotion and Werts is now a Welder/Fitter II.
Werts continues to receive training and has recently taken a Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) class. “It helps me to understand the whole process. You look at a blueprint and you don’t really know how someone is coming up with the design, but once you see how that starts — how it trickles down through the engineers, the designers and then finally to us (welder) it gives me that background experience and it’s a lot easier to communicate to that end.”