February 22, 2021

Welding program provides new skills, perspective

After retiring from the U.S. Air Force, Heather Erickson tried working in a corporate environment.


“It’s just not my culture,” she says. “If you have to figure out why you’re sitting in traffic for two and a half hours every single day, you know there’s a problem.”

Realizing she hadn’t found the right fit, Heather asked herself what it was she wanted to do.

Her search for a new direction came at a good time. Heather and her husband were planning to transform an old school bus into a recreational vehicle.

“We were first talking about just flipping a bus for us,” Heather says. “My husband he's very, very good with mechanics, electricity, plumbing all that kind of stuff. He pretty much asked, ‘So what are you gonna do?’. ”

What she was going to do, it turns out, was enroll in Anoka Tech’s basic welding program. As a student, Heather is quickly picking up skills through hands-on training. She says the process has helped shift her perspective.

“When I retired, I was in a higher management level where I was the one explaining to other people how things worked,” she says. “Now I'm on the other side. I’ve learned it’s important to be very patient about learning and giving myself grace to know this is the first time I’m actually touching the equipment and not getting frustrated with it.”

Learn more about Anoka Tech’s flexible degree, diploma and certificate programs in welding.

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