San Benito CISD set to start second cohort Special Education Welding Program

Special Education Welding Program instructor Raul Robles, at center, was the instructor of San Benito High School's first Special Education Welding Program. From left, Nicholas De La Fuente, Luis Andrade, Omar Gonzalez and James Teran completed the 40-hour program and earned a welding certification. Courtesy photo

SAN BENITO — It takes thick heavy-duty leather jackets and flame-resistant helmets to be that close to blue sparks while liquefied metals fuse together.

San Benito High School’s second Special Education Welding Program cohort is set to don that equipment and start acquiring that skill this week.

Students will be taught four days during the week for three weeks and will complete 40-hours of training with the aim to receive a welding certification.

San Benito CISD Special Services Director Ernesto Manriquez reported about 12 students signed up for the program.

Manriquez said he looks forward to seeing the next group of students grow just like the program’s first group.

First cohort

Last month, the district’s first Special Education Welding Program cohort finished their training.

The first cohort was comprised of four seniors and was held twice a week after school.

Through the 10-week program, the students completed 40 hours of training, coursework and passed a welding certification exam.

“I was very thrilled to see our students developing in that area and expand their knowledge especially in a field that they said they can later on get a job in,” Manriquez said. “I think the program’s first year was a big success.”

Three of the students enrolled at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen and plan to continue earning more welding certifications.

“The students were thrilled to complete the program,” Manriquez said. “More than anything else they were very excited and always looked forward to those days they had their welding classes.”

Omar Gonzalez is one of the four students who completed the program.

“I am very proud and excited to have completed the welding program,” he said. “I want to thank my welding instructor for all of his support and help for teaching us new things.”

How much do welder’s make?

The national average salary for a welder is $36k per year

25% of welders make more than $40k per year.

Texas ranks 41 out of 50 nationwide for welder salaries.

According to


San Benito High School is set to launch its second Special Education Welding Program cohort this week.

Through the 40-hour welding program, students conduct coursework, training and take a welding certification test.

Four seniors participated in the program’s first cohort and completed the program last month.