NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A welding expo in North Little Rock held a “Students Day” on Wednesday, offering young Arkansans a chance to explore high-paying jobs that do not require university degrees.

The expo let vendors and instructors associated with different welding schools or businesses give students the ability to handle new tools and gear, introduce possible job connections and even show the future of the business.

The students there said they were impressed with what was at the expo. Mykaela Colon, a National Park College welding program student, explained the experience she got while there.

“We’ve gotten to try a couple things I’ve never done before,” Colon said. “There was an electronic simulation machine that was super cool. I’ve never gotten to do anything like that.”

The expo also allowed instructors to recruit prospective students.

“They might not know anything about welding, but they come here with their high school and think, ‘I might want to do that’,” Harvey Barron, a welding teacher, said.

The online job search company Intuit shows Arkansas welding jobs range in salary from $18,000 at the low end to upwards of $70,000. Thousands of open jobs are posted across the country.

“I’ve just wanted to do something I could do very hands-on,” Colon said. “I’m also very competitive, and I like to compete with the men and try to prove them wrong and say I’m better than them.”

The expo will end tomorrow with “Industry Day.”