Cole Smith first heard of the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethics Scholarship from his Dad, who was browsing online and came across it. “I decided to apply for it because I really liked that it was based on having a strong work ethic — which is something I take pride in myself for having,” he said. Cole had heard about welding from a friend, who — while discussing the lack of skilled labor in the state — informed him of the field and its absence of young workers. “After doing some research, I learned that my local community college offered welding classes, so I tried it out for a semester and loved it,” he added. After a year taking those classes, and spending six months doing hands-on training, Cole chose Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology — an accredited two-year technical college — to hone his craft. Upon graduation, Cole hopes to jump head first into the field. “I am very much looking forward to my future in welding, whether it’s working on the pipeline, at a shipyard, or opening my own shop,” he said.