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First Highland Industrial Training degree graduate

As Highland prepares to grant diplomas to the Class of 2020, one graduate is a first graduate with an associate’s degree in Industrial Training.

Highland added the Associate of Applied Science Industrial Training degree at a time when the economy was ripe to welcome workers pursuing education and training to prepare them for a job in the field of welding and other trades.

This degree is in partnership with the Area 23 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union. Highland students in this program gain core welding and general education skills to prepare to be part of a field of industrial technicians with a wide variety of employment options in the area of metal fabrication. Other possible careers include welding, plumbing, and pipefitters.

Bryce Rives of Carlinville, Ill. is the first graduate from Highland Community College with this degree. He began his academic career at Highland in the fall 2018 semester. Rives said he chose to study at Highland because it offered him a chance to prepare for a career in a field with a variety of employment opportunities.

While at Highland, he also participated on the bowling team. Rives is proud of his bowling team’s championship and also to be the first graduate of his degree that places him in the workplace.

“Highland had the right fit for what I was looking for in my studies to earn a degree and become a success,” Rives said. “My education covered all the categories in welding, and I already have a job in my field, with other possibilities. It’s nice to know that through my hard work, things will pay off for me.”

Scott Anderson, Vice President of Business, Technology, and Community Programs, said he is proud to have Rives be the first graduate of the program added a few years ago.

“We are so glad that Bryce selected Highland Community College,” Anderson said. “We are proud of his dedication to complete his degree. Right after the Industrial Training/Apprenticeship AAS degree was approved, the economy took a turn for the positive, which in general is a good thing.”

Anderson added, “However, when students can find employment in high wage and high demand careers like Bryce as a Plumber/Pipefitter/Welder without a full two-year degree, they often don’t finish up their degree. Bryce is thinking beyond today and has put forth the extra effort to complete his degree to position himself to remain employable during future tougher economic times.”

For more information on a degree in Industrial Training, visit

Photo: Bryce Rives