MEET THE PRO: Drew Crone, Welder

By Arkansas Next on Friday, October 13, 2023

Jacob Slaton

Hometown: Little Rock

Age: 20

Where I Trained: Arkansas Elite Welding Academy

What I Earned: Certificate in structural welding

Job Title: Class B Welder

Employer: Prospect Steel, Lexicon Inc. 

Drew Crone decided to pursue a career in welding due to her background as an artist, and because she knew people in the skilled trades.

“I always get asked the most: ‘Why did you choose welding?’ My answer is really a culmination of things,” Drew said. “From being an artist, to seeing my dad as a tradesman, and just knowing people in the business in general—these all influenced my decision to become a welder. It just seemed like the place to start, and I was right!”

After graduating high school, Drew started her training in the structural welding program at Arkansas Elite Welding Academy. Through this program, she gained the hands-on knowledge and technical skills needed for her career.  

“Being able to listen to feedback and actually apply it into growth will allow you to progress quickly,” Drew said. “You will make mistakes, but learning from them, and being able to fix bad habits, makes those mistakes worth it!” 

Drew works at Lexicon Inc. as a Class B Welder. Every day, she checks in with her supervisor at the plant to see what tasks she will take on or picks up where she left off the day before. Drew likes that each day is a new challenge and opportunity to learn on the job.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing progress, or even the end result, of a project we have dedicated so much into,” Drew said. “Even the smallest beams to be welded help create something massive that will be used daily, and I enjoy being a part of it!”

By taking this career route, Drew was able to get a head start on life. She started a stable career that she loves right out of high school, and this gave her financial stability and independence sooner than her peers.

If you have drive and a willingness to learn, Drew thinks you can go far in this industry. She encourages students considering a career like hers to just go for it!

“Don’t be intimidated coming in. There are plenty of people willing to help you learn if you really want it,” Drew said. “They’ve all been in your shoes before and will always help new hands. If this is the route you want—do it!”


Hand-welding or brazing equipment to join metal components and fill holes, dents or seams of fabricated metal products.

Education Needed: 

High school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training

Job Outlook

 Employment is projected to increase 10% in Arkansas by 2030

 660 estimated welding job openings in Arkansas each year

High-end earners (top 10%) make
$50,090 Annual
$27.74 Hourly

Median wages in Arkansas
$41,250 Annual
$19.83 Hourly


  • The Academy at Goodwill
  • Arkansas Northeastern College
  • Arkansas State University Three Rivers
  • Arkansas State University-Beebe
  • Arkansas State University-Mid-South
  • Arkansas State University-Mountain Home
  • Arkansas State University-Newport
  • East Arkansas Community College
  • Lexicon Inc.
  • National Park College
  • Northwest Technical Institute (NWTI)
  • Nucor Steel
  • Phillips Community College, University of Arkansas
  • Tyson Foods Inc.
  • University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology-Crossett
  • University of  Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology-McGehee
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton
  • University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana


  • Central Moloney Inc.
  • Green Bay Packaging
  • Hytrol
  • Lexicon Inc.
  • Nucor Steel
  • Tyson Foods Inc.
  • Union Pacific Railroad