Clarkston High, OSTC graduate loving booming career as welder, getting hands dirty

Clarkston High, OSTC graduate loving booming career as welder, getting hands dirty

Clarkston News Editor

When Noah Castillo was a senior at Clarkston High School during the 2018-19 school year, he didn’t want his three years attending Oakland Schools Technical Campus-Northeast (OSTC-NE) learning the welding trade to go to waste.
Two years later, Castillo is enjoying his time as a lead welder working for AM General in Auburn Hills.
AM General builds more military light tactical vehicles than any other company in the world, including the Humvee. The company’s headquarters are in South Bend, Ind., but their Technology and Engineering Center is located in Auburn Hills.
“My experience at OSTC was great,” said Castillo, the son of Matthew and Bernadette Castillo who attended Andersonville Elementary. “I learned a lot while I was there (10th, 11th, and 12th grade) and met some of my now good buddies. My teacher, Steve Langdon, was great as well. His advice and skills helped me get to where I am now.
“OSTC struck my interest because it taught me so much more about my trade and everything that revolves around it. Welding has always interested me, and I like being able to create and build what’s in my head because the possibilities are endless.”

Noah Castillo works on a recent welding project at the Auburn Hills-based AM General Technology and Engineering Center. Photos provided

Growing up with no brothers or sisters, Castillo said he leaned on a neighbor often for advice and support.
“Cody Smith is now a DNR officer in the Upper Peninsula,” explained Castillo. “He was a big mentor for me, basically like my big brother.”
Learning a trade is something many high school seniors often consider, but don’t follow up on the opportunity. The vast majority of high school graduates attend college.
Once Castillo finished up at CHS, he completed Oakland Community College’s welding certificate program. During his senior year, Castillo participated in a paid internship at Boones Express, located in Lake Orion, through the OSTC-NE school-to-career work-based learning program.
Since starting at AM General, Noah has been an integral part of several essential works as the lead welder.
“My goals are to continue working at AM General for a long time and to further improve my skills as a welder and machinist,” said Castillo. “Eventually, I would like to experience more with my career, but I’m very happy where I’m at right now.
“I completely agree not everyone needs to go to college for four years just for a degree. The trades are just as important, and opportunities are endless. On top of that, I came straight out of high school making great money. We need more people who aren’t afraid of hard work and getting their hands dirty.”

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