Onate welding the future forward

Although CHS spends a great deal of time and resources encouraging every student to consider a four-year college or university, it is important to remember that there are plenty of other valid paths in life that exist outside of a bachelor’s degree. One CHS student, senior Elias Onate, is planning on following one of these unique paths after high school. Onate has his future quite extensively planned out.
“I’m planning on getting my welding certification at Mt. Sac, and getting into HVAC [Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning],” said Onate. “After I’ve put a bunch of money in an IRA [Individual Retirement Arrangement], I’ll put a down-payment on a home in Alaska.”
Onate certainly won’t be struggling to find work as a welder in Alaska, as there is an abundance of lucrative work.
“After learning about the oil pipelines in Alaska, they [welders] make a lot of money,” Onate said. “That or underwater welding. Saturation divers can make around two hundred thousand dollars a year.”
Although Onate was able to find out about these fruitful lines of work, he believes that the school has not done nearly enough to get the word out about trades.
“The only day that I was ever told about any kind of trade was career day,” Onate said. “The school has done practically nothing when it comes to introducing kids to trades. I had to do all this research by myself.”
Onate is a great example of someone who has discovered an alternate life and career path. A lot of people may just not get all that much enjoyment or fulfillment out of the standard four-year degree. Onate believes that this would have been the case for himself.
“I saw everyone else doing it and my thought was that I could just do a trade, and during that time I’ll do part-time college and get a degree,” Onate said, “I’ll capitalize on that degree once my body breaks down and can’t really handle being in the trade.”
Onate strongly advises that future seniors fill out their FAFSA as soon as possible. He will miss his friends from high school, but he looks forward to the freedom that graduation will present him. He has definitely done a great job extensively planning for his future and there is no doubt that he will be successful in whatever he chooses to pursue.

Photo Courtesy of Elias Onate.