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Let’s be real; The world goes round because of money. Without money, you can’t enjoy the delights that come from a capitalist society. But what if college is not something you can afford or even want to do? Fear not, many have asked themselves this question and found themselves taking an alternative path to their success. One such person is Anthony Davila, a welder.

Why Trade School?

During his senior year of high school, Anthony had no idea what type of career he wanted to pursue. He felt as though college wasn’t meant for him because of the lack of resources and opportunities available in his low-income community. 

But on a random Wednesday during lunch, he stumbled upon a job fair at his high school that would change his life’s trajectory. 

“There was a job fair that introduced me to various careers that didn’t require a bachelor’s degree,” said Davila.  “There, I met a recruiter from a school called Arclabs Welding School and became very intrigued about welding and the opportunity to become certified by attending trade school.” 

That same day, Davila set up a meeting with the recruiter and began asking questions about the program, its cost and duration. 

“In the meeting, I learned that I could make a lot of money within a short period of time, exactly 6 months to earn a certificate for welding. And the commute for me was 15 minutes away. It was the best option that best suited me for my career,” said Davila.      

The journey in Trade School

Life happens, and unexpected events can occur at any given moment. For Anthony, life challenged him when his stepdad had his second stroke. This happened when he was balancing trade school and a part-time job in order to help his mom with bills. He quickly had to step in and become the man in the house. 

“My mom supported me during trade school. She gifted me with my first-ever car to be able to commute to and from school. While also helping me take out a loan and be able to pay for school,” said Davila as he remembered the difficult period. “While working in my part-time job as a server in Woodrow’s, I didn’t have much of a social life since I was working late and gave most of my money to help my mom. I didn’t want to stay where I was in life. I was committed to finishing trade school to better support my family, but most importantly, to finish what I had already started despite the adversities that I was facing at home.”

Classroom Setting

Every lesson was a hands-on experience. The lessons were structured to have an hour of study time. This was followed by a trip out to the shop for hands-on learning. During school every Thursday, there was a workplace safety workshop. Every Friday, there was an exam on the things learned that week. Anthony would wake up at 5 a.m. to prepare for the day ahead. He attended welding school Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and worked part-time evening shifts.  


Today, Davila is certified in shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, and gas tungsten arc welding. He now welds structural pieces and pipe vessels that are used in the gas and oil industries. He is still helping his mom with the bills and paying off his student loan. But most importantly, he was able to make his family and himself proud by finishing what he had started. 

Davila’s passion for welding has only grown as time passed. For anyone wanting to attend trade school instead of college, he recommends the following; 

“Set your mind to what you really want to do, follow your heart and don’t give up when times get hard. And make sure you enjoy what you do so that it is not only worth your time but also worth your energy.”.

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