Apprenticeship Academy alumnus begins career in underwater welding

Leo Montes, a 2021 Harlingen High School South graduate is currently working as a welder specializing in commercial diving and underwater welding.

“I recently graduated from the Ocean Corporation,” Montes said. “I will be working for C-Dive Corporation located in the Louisiana Gulf Coast. My first days in Louisiana will be preparing to go offshore, reviewing safety protocols, and beginning work.”

His brother-in-law and his high school welding teacher both inspired him to pursue this career path.

“I became interested in welding because my brother-in-law is a welder and it always looked interesting,” Montes said. “I was able to take a welding class in high school. I loved it a lot.  I talked to Mr. Alvarez, the Harlingen South welding teacher, about other career opportunities in the welding field.  Mr. Alvarez motivated me to continue on to go to dive school and become a welder specializing in underwater welding.”

Montes initially only began welding as a hobby, but he quickly realized his talent.

“I was really good at it,” he said.

Through the Apprenticeship Academy, Montes discovered he wanted to go to a trade school.

“My goal was to pursue something I enjoyed and make a living,” he said.  “I did not want to work in a traditional 9-5 job. Speaking to my welding instructor and with the information he gave me about underwater welding, I knew that what I wanted to pursue was a trade school.”

Having accomplished his first career goal, Montes hopes to one day become a saturation diver.

“That is the highest and most well-respected job in the diving community,” Montes said. “Diving is mentally challenging but once you are able to focus on the goal, have the mindset to work on that goal, and use your energy to work on this goal, everything else begins to come into place.”

Montes looks back at his career choice with confidence.

“This was the best decision I made,” Montes said. “I am able to enjoy doing this, and it does not feel like work. My advice to others is to surround yourself with people that can help you to succeed, pray and have faith, keep your focus on your goal, and dream big.”


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