By Stafford MSD Communications
Daniel Ponce is a Stafford College & Career Center success story.
Ponce, a 19-year-old 2016 Stafford High School graduate, was one of the first student in Jesus Puente’s welding class. The partnership between Stafford Municipal School District and Houston Community College gives students the opportunity to earn college credit, and upon graduation, a welding certificate.
Last month, Hunting Energy Services – located four-tenths of a mile from Stafford High School – hired Ponce to work in its welding operation. Ponce is the first graduate from the College & Career Center’s new welding program to be hired by Hunting, but certainly there will be many more.
“We are very excited,” said Stafford College & Career Center Director Debbie Nordt. “Once we start the proverbial pipeline, we will be communicating with Hunting whenever there are entry level positions available.”
Ponce is one of 126 employees at Hunting’s Stafford-based location. Hunting has been a longtime supporter of Stafford MSD, sponsoring the engineering division of the College & Career Center and regularly donating school supplies to the district.
Ponce works in a division that does welding for hydraulics that operate in underwater energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Ponce’s supervisor, Jared Kiser, is pleased with the smooth transition he’s made.
“He’s a good, fast learner,” Kiser said. “He has a great attitude, and he’s everything you can ask for in an employee. He’s also a wonderful diplomat for the Stafford College & Career Center’s welding program.”
The sixth of eight children, Ponce took Puente’s class as a senior and immediately became interested in welding.
“After that class, it’s all I wanted to do,” said Ponce, who earned A’s and B’s and played football and soccer for the Spartans.
Upon graduation from SHS, Ponce briefly worked in retail before the opportunity to chase his career goals opened up. He’s grateful for the position at Hunting and credits his colleagues with helping him become acclimated to the position.
The Stafford Municipal School District’s mission is “For every student to graduate college or career ready, without remediation.”
The Stafford College & Career Center is a state-of-the-art component of Stafford High School. Students who apply to the College & Career Center and/or Stafford High are not required to live in Stafford. To schedule a tour, e-mail Nordt at firstname.lastname@example.org.