CDA Technical Institute's Commercial Diver Program


CDA Newsletter - Summer 2012


Ashley Scott
Mrs. Scott is originally from Louisiana, where she graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She was a member of Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has five years of experience in education. Her past positions have been Student Account Representative, Financial Aid Planner, Student Advisor and Student Records. She takes great pride in helping students navigate from matriculation to graduation and she is currently a Financial Aid Administrator at CDA Technical Institute.


Linwood Noble
Mr. Noble a four year U.S. Navy veteran, with over seven years of higher education counseling and management experience. He holds an Associate’s degree in Journalism, Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, with a minor in marketing from the University of Phoenix, and a Master’s degree in education with a minor in college administration through Keiser University. He is currently pursuing a PHD in educational psychology. Mr. Noble is an Admissions Representative with CDA Technical Institute and he is passionate about helping students achieve their career goals.

Len Wade
Mr. Wade is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served as an Avionics Technician, Aviation Machinist Mate, Recruiter, Command Career Counselor and Education Services Officer. He studied at Southern Illinois University for Workforce Education and Development.
He has been in the educational field for over twelve years and has worked in Career Services, Financial Aid, Marketing, and Admissions. He is the Career Services Coordinator at CDA Technical Institute, where he works with students and alumni in meeting their career goals and maintains close working relationships with employers.

Shane Wilson
Mr. Wilson graduated from a local welding school and then began his career at First Coast Stripping and Sandblasting, where his main duties were weld repair and fabrication of blasting equipment. Mr. Wilson’s experience includes working for Ronco Marine & Rigging welding in power plants, mills, and factories throughout Northeast Florida. He is both practically and academically proficient in SMAW, FCAW, GMAW, GTAW, OFC, PAC and CAC processes, as well as being a current member of the American Welding Society (AWS). He is an instructor for CDA Technical Institute’s Maritime Welding Program.

James Coleman
Mr. Coleman is a former U.S. Army Paratrooper, and Nuclear Chemical and Biological Specialist. He completed both the JACADS and Red Hats programs and received numerous citations for his participation in global collection and disposal efforts throughout the Pacific Rim. Mr. Coleman acted as field training Non-Commissioned Officer during joint training exercises with Egyptian military forces in Egypt. Mr. Coleman is a certified SMAW welder through the U.S. Army. He uses his years of experience in leadership, academic instruction, and welding to facilitate training as an instructor for CDA Technical Institute’s Maritime Welding Program.




Changes to the Maritime Welding Program curriculum and training facility are currently under way. These changes include items such as application and processes, instructional staff, as well as structural changes to the training barge.
“CDA Technical Institute is pleased to welcome James Coleman and Shane Wilson to the Maritime Welding Program as instructors”, said Adam Leese, Director of the Maritime Welding Program.
Application and process changes are relatively subtle, but absolutely necessary to ensure student training replicates popular trends within the welding/maritime industry. The objective is to train students in the same manner for which they will be testing for welding jobs.
Structural changes to the training facility include a second deck for welding, which will increase our available training area by approximately 1,000 sq. ft. Plans are also in the works for designing more welding stations below deck to better accommodate welding during unfavorable weather conditions.



We have GREAT news for Veterans using their Post 9/11 GI-Bill. Effective, August 1, 2012, the yearly cap for Post 9/11 GI-Bill funding was raised from $17,500 to $18,077.50. To find out more information regarding Veteran funding, log on to

The VA also started a new program, called the Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program (VRAP). Here is more information from the VA on how it works:

VRAP is a provision under the Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes ACT of 2011. It allows qualified Veterans to receive up to 12 months of education assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill at the Active Duty rate, which is currently $1,473 per month. The money is paid to the Veteran, who in turn pays the school for tuition, fees, and books.

To be qualified, you must:

  • Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;
  • Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the Department of Labor;
  • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. Post 9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment);
  • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program within the last 180 days;
  • Not receive VA compensation at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability (IU).

The VA can approve up to 45,000 Veterans for VRAP through the end of September 2012 and they can approve another 54,000 Veterans October 1st, 2012 to September 30th, 2013.

For more information please call the VA National Call Center at 1-800-827-1000 or Veterans can access the VRAP through eBenefits at



Walt Joslyn recently took a trip to Quebec City, Canada for the CSA standards meetings. Now that he is the lead person on 275.1, he had to give a briefing of all updates and changes for the standard. All standards were covered, from 275.1 to 275.6 and changes were suggested for October. CDA now has four working mono-place chambers.

Career Services is moving in the right direction and is now managed by Len Wade. CDA consistently has great companies asking for our graduates. Len has been calling all CDA graduates, sending resumes and getting the information out quickly. Everyone at CDA strives to have all of our graduates employed gainfully!

This past month CDA’s administrative staff attended the annual convention for the Florida Association of Post-Secondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) held in Isle of Palm Resort in Aventura, Florida. The convention had educational seminars, where up-to-date information was provided on the new regulations and requirements for Career Schools. The good news is that CDA has always been in compliance with these regulations and continues stay ahead of the curve. “We are committed to doing the right thing for our students and only look for students that are committed to their education and being successful in the given careers,” said Michele Scott, CDA's Director of Compliance.

Congratulations to CDA’s international students from Nigeria! They recently graduated and James Coleman, one of their instructors, is proud to say they came a long way. Since they arrived at CDA, expectations were high for them and the staff and student body worked hard to make all the international students feel welcome. Each CDA instructor accepted the challenge of teaching a new and foreign skill to these young men. Sometimes language and cultural differences made the process tough, but never impossible. CDA looks forward to continued growth in our international student body. This opportunity has allowed both the staff and students to achieve a positive change on a global level. 


CDA hosted the American Welding Society, Northeast Florida Section on April 26th, 2012,. The meeting had over 35 AWS Members & guests from across Northeast Florida in attendance. Drew Duffy, long standing AWS Member & current CDA Admissions Representative, hosted the event & he gave a presentation about CDA & the programs offered. Following the presentation and short question & answer session, Drew gave a tour of the 2.5 acre campus to the welding industry professionals & special guests in attendance.
An underwater welding demonstration was conducted by instructors Walt Joslyn and Kevin Everett. CDA commercial diving students provided support for the instructional staff during this demo.

Adam Leese, the Director of the Maritime Welding Program (MWP), MWP staff & several students were working in full swing to provide an interactive introduction to the welding program & its content. During this segment of the tour, guests were shown the welding training facility that is located on a floating barge on the Trout River.



The Maritime Welding Program was pleased to host a number of employer visitor to our facilities in recent months including the following:

  • Huntington Ingalls Industries; a major shipbuilder & defense contractor located in Pascagoula Mississippi, David Cobb, Trade Manager.
  • Industrial Staffing Firm Ameriforce; Tony Davezen Regional Manager.
  • TTX; a rail car repair contractor with repair facilities located nationwide, Chris Tricker, Human Resources & Safety Supervisor.
  • Vac-Con; manufacturer of Vacuum & Pumper trucks, Joe Peterson, Welding Supervisor.
  • BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, a large defense contractor & leader in ship repair industry, Kelly Boykin, Production Manager & Keely Ragin Project Manager – New Construction Division.



After a recent visit from Kelly Boykin, Production Manager at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, the MWP staff entered in agreement to fabricate multiple bins, containers & tool cribs to be used at the shipyard in Jacksonville. The MWP staff & Mr. Boykin agreed that these small projects be fabricated with consumable, materials and blueprints all supplied by BAE. The purpose was to expose students to real world fabrication projects & also, potentially lead to employment with BAE for those who excelled.



CDA Technical Institute was featured in a May 5, 2012 newspaper article from the Dalton Daily Citizen

By: Rachel Brown
Princeton Smith knew what he wanted to do after graduating from Southeast High School before he attended Friday’s regional career fair.

Now, the senior who plans to study criminal justice at Johnson & Wales University has a backup plan in case that career doesn’t work out — the Southeast Lineman Training Center in Trenton.

“If I don’t go all the way with criminal justice, then what I’ll most likely do is this,” he said.

The SLTC was among more than 300 vendors who set up for an estimated 6,500 students who attended the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy’s regional career fair at the trade center on Friday. Middle school and high school students from 10 nearby counties bussed students to the center for the event that drew local, national and international companies and colleges to speak with students.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black were featured speakers as was Georgia Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard. The Navy band Freedom performed outside the trade center’s doors, and four helicopters from different institutions were on site.

Robert Broughton, who coordinated the fair along with assistant Carol Hatch, said he deliberately invited schools and companies that could showcase unusual careers in addition to sending invitations to the schools and employers many students already know about.

Among them was CDA Technical Institute, a Jacksonville, FL institution that trains individuals to become underwater commercial divers, welders, medical assistants and industrial non-destructive testing personnel. Each program takes less than a year to complete and graduates have a great success rate in finding employment within 90 days of completing their programs, officials said.

Admissions Officer Drew Duffy said the school serves about 150 students in any given month. Graduates from the diving program can expect to earn between $30,000 and $60,000 right out of school, he said. This job requires some degree of physical strength as divers have to wear more than 100 pounds of equipment. The helmet alone weighs approximately 40 pounds.

Duffy said the career fair was a huge success for CDA.

“CDA could only document 10 contacts in (a career fair) in our own back yard,” he said. “We made over 100 contacts today.”

Broughton’s brother, Mark Broughton, a superintendent with Turner Construction, said more girls than guys inquired about job opportunities with the company.

“It’s not just about nailing boards,” he said, noting there are both males and females in every department.

Career Academy CEO Tim Fleming said organizers planned to debrief after the fair ended to discuss what went well and what needed changing. A few logistical things need to be sorted out, he said.

One of the speakers, Stephanie Hill with Women in Technology, was canceled after streamlining groups of students from the downstairs booths area to the upstairs auditorium became difficult. Yet Fleming said he was pleased with the fair’s overall success.

“We’ve had unbelievable attendance,” he said. “It’s been a great day.”

Hill said the fair was an “awesome idea” and could be improved with more hands-on activities next year.

Alisha Mansel, an eighth-grader at New Hope Middle School, was among several students who said they enjoyed the fair.

“It’s a good opportunity,” she said.

Hannah Ridley, a senior at the Career Academy, said she spent most of the day talking to people who came by the school’s booth about the opportunities available to them. A certified nursing assistant student, Ridley said she was able to take several health care classes through her school and get a jump start on her plans to get a Registered Nurse degree at Dalton State College.

“I learned a lot before I even started the CNA class,” she added. “It made it easier.”

Broughton said next year’s career fair is scheduled for March 22.