Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers free welding certification to young Georgia students

In this Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, photo, welder Gabriel Gonzalez welds a support beam at a local welding shop in Hialeah, Fla. On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the Federal Reserve reports on industrial production for February. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Getting technical certifications can be difficult - and expensive. That's why Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers Youth Success Academy, a four-week welding certification course, free of charge for qualifying residents of Walker, Catoosa, Dade, Chattooga and Floyd counties.

GNTC youth specialist Tammy Pence said such programs can typically cost $2,000.

The Youth Success Academy also pays for all equipment, including welding tools and steel-toed boots, which the students are allowed to keep at the conclusion of the program, provided they complete it.

The next academy starts July 17.

People between the ages of 18 and 24 who have a high school diploma or GED and also live below the school's income restriction for the class are eligible to attend the program for free. The income limit is based on numerous factors, including family income, work history, housing and more.