Cape Tech’s Successful Graduate Honoree
Derrick Etling, Class of 2013, is the 2022 Successful Cape Tech Graduate Honoree. Etling was in the Welding program of study.
Currently he works for the Riley Power Group, LLC building nuclear submarines. At one point in his career, he was working on a project for NASA SPACEX.
Etling said, "The quality of education he received at Cape Tech prepared him for a successful career as a welder. In the field, no one cares if you know everything the books have to say; they only care how high quality your work is. The work I displayed reflected the excellent education I received at Tech which was as close to a real-world experience as possible without ever leaving the classroom.”
After graduating from Cape May Tech's welding program in 2013, Etling went on to the Hobart Institute of Welding. Today, he is employed by the Riley Power Group, which is headquartered in Pinehurst, N.C. He currently works for the company as a specialty welder in Rhode Island, where he is helping to build new submarines for the Navy.
Although Etling is now a few steps removed from high school, he has continued reflecting on the start he got in his welding program.
“For starters, the program helped me build enough confidence in my skills to be able to succeed in the welding world,” he said. “The well-established certification test at the end of the program was proof of that because the person tested is held to the same standards and codes that are utilized in onsite client weld-testing.”
Having the experience of welding with an outside certified welding instructor and third-party testing drove home everything that his Tech teacher, Tom Jackson, instilled in him during his years in the program. The constant practice and the goals that were set in class were the building blocks for real-world application.
Etling said, “To this day I am still using the skills I learned at Tech. I credit my education with building my confidence, teaching me to be humble, reinforcing my work ethic, and making my current and future successes possible.”