June 16, 2022
Story and photos by Joe Vinduska
Richard Mason, 50, of Great Bend received his Scale Technician Certificate on the same day his daughter Sydney received her associate degree at Barton’s commencement ceremony in May. They’re both ready for the next chapter of their lives and get to embark on their respective journeys almost simultaneously.
While Sydney is heading to Wichita State University to continue her education and participate in their dance program on a scholarship, Richard is primed to make over $10 more an hour than he was making at his last job after earning his certificate in just one semester. He has already been asked to learn additional skills that will further increase his worth to his new employer, Metler-Toledo in Dodge City. Mason secured employment with the company before he even finished Barton’s program.
Instant job offers are typical with Barton’s workforce training programs in large part by design as solid and well-developed industry partnerships drive curriculum as well as program offerings to ensure students come out of the gate ready to work and with the knowledge that those out in the field want them to have.
“Vic (Instructor Victor Martin) had a zoom meeting with the scales companies and he invited me and by the time it was all said and done everybody that was in the meeting requested my resume, which I thought was cool,” he said. “We got the resume sent off and companies started calling and immediately started making job offers. I thought ‘this is awesome. This is just really awesome.’”
Richard said he was hesitant to go back to school after decades out of the classroom but his wife and Barton Instructional Specialist at the Adult Education Center at 1025 Main in Great Bend encouraged him to check out the scales program.
“It is an accelerated program but if you’re having problems with anything just raise your hand and they’ll slow down if you need them to and get you caught up,” he said.
Mason said there is a high demand in this field and that everywhere there is a scale whether it’s a small grocery store scale or massive grain elevator scale a technician is needed to officially calibrate it.
“Scale technician is one of those jobs people just don’t think of,” he said.
Mason will move out to Dodge City and get an apartment until his youngest daughter is out of high school and then will buy a home for him and his wife. He’s incredibly thankful for his time at Barton and said he encourages people to never settle for a career situation that is not ideal.
“If I had to talk to someone about doing what I did and being hesitant because they’re older, I’d have to be totally encouraging to them and tell it’s well worth their time,” he said. “If you think you have a dead-end job, there are opportunities at Barton. I wish I would’ve done this a long time ago.”