Caden Cunningham is the first high school junior this year to be elected Associated General Contractors of the Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week, but his enthusiasm to join the workforce after graduation is as great as the seniors who were elected to this honor.
The Caldwell County High School student is a third-year student in the Caldwell Regional Career Center Welding program.
Cunningham said his grandfather welded in coal mines and that led him to study welding.
After three years of study, he finds the versatility of welding interesting.
“I enjoy learning about the different types of welds that can be made on different types of materials,” he said. “I enjoy MIG (Metal Inert Gas Welding) because I can do it in several ways.”
Cunningham’s class has worked on lawn mowers, trailers and grills to perfect their skills. He said he sees welding as a possible career.
“[After graduation]I’ll probably go to technical school at Paducah or Lincoln Tech[in Nashville]then get a job and advance my career,” he said.
Mickey Bayer is Cunningham’s welding instructor at the CRCC and he said Cunningham understood welding well.
“He’s one of those kids who’s willing to learn whatever it is,” Bayer said. “He may not be the best welder in the business, but he’s what employers are looking for as he has perfect presence, ready to work, has all his stuff ready and willing to try anything no matter what you throw at him.” him.
“Employers don’t call here and say, ‘Send me your best stick welder or your best overhead welder.’ They say, ‘Do you have someone who comes to school every day, gets along well with the other students and can pass a drug test?’ If you answer “yes” to these, they say, “Send them to me.” ”
Bayer said Cunningham is always looking for a challenge and sticks to the challenges he is given.
“We set up a fire pit for the Nashville Metro Police Department for their K-9 training,” he said. “We remodeled pig feeders; that was another big project we did. We built a 60 foot fence running along her driveway with 2 x 2 square tubing for a lady and she was a tornado victim here in Princeton.”
Cunningham plays football for CCHS and works at Pagliai in Princeton. In his spare time he enjoys hunting and fishing. He is the son of Nikki and Tim Cunningham of Dawson Springs.
A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun every Friday through March 31, with recipients being selected by instructors and administrators at the seven area Technical Centers serving 13th-grade students westernmost counties of the state.
In addition to the Caldwell Regional Career Center, the 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are selected from Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center and Paducah Area Technical Center.
The Caldwell Regional Career Center serves students from Caldwell County, Crittenden County, Dawson Springs, Lyon County, and Trigg County high schools.
In addition to welding, the technical center offers courses in vehicle technology, carpentry, electrical engineering, health sciences, information technology and plumbing.
AGC of Western Kentucky will host a banquet for this year’s 29 Technical Center Students of the Week in April. Students will receive awards and the Technical Center Student of the Year and a Regional Technical Center Student of the Year will be announced.
At area technical centers, students learn skills in many career areas that will help them enter the workforce upon graduation and meet western Kentucky’s need for a skilled workforce.