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Former Provo High School alumni made headlines as Utah State University Eastern chose welding student Jordan Packer to represent the United States in the WorldSkills 2022 Welding competition this October in Cleveland, Ohio. This accomplishment marks the highest level of competitive welding one can achieve– and his journey started here.
Always fascinated with welding, Packer restored a tractor with his father, leading him to Provo High School’s Welding shop class, led by Kaleb Money, a teacher with a track record for putting students on paths towards academic and occupational achievement. Packer took on competitive welding and hasn’t looked back since then.
Packer says he is the first U.S. competitor to contend in over thirty years. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and has been my entire life for the last year and a half.” The article notes that there have only been 16 WorldSkills welding contestants hailing from the United States since 1991.
To quote Austin Welch, Assistant Professor of Welding at USU Eastern:
Hard work is an insignificant way to describe the sheer magnitude of what it took for Jordan to get where he is. Jordan’s current position as a welding contestant at WorldSkills is more exclusive than any Olympic event. There is one spot, and one spot only. A higher level of competitive welding does not exist.
Packer currently works upwards of ninety hours weekly to prepare for the competition. The WorldSkills criteria are “infinitely stricter than anything we would refer to as an ‘industry standard,'” Welch said. To quote Welch:
Some of the criteria are so absurdly strict that it is debatable whether or not it is even possible to satisfy by any welding process or technique that currently exists, yet he is still held accountable for it. I could describe him as the ‘Babe Ruth of welding,’ but that isn’t accurate. The quality of his work is at such an elite level that some of it exceed what even modern automated (robotic) welding equipment is capable of. He’s better than that.
We want to congratulate Jordan Packer for reaching the pinnacle of competitive welding, and we’re proud to claim him as Provo High School alumni.