Recent Central Hardin High School graduate Conner Taylor is well on his way to earning his pipefitter Journeyman’s Card and associate’s degree in applied science.

While in high school, the 18-year-old pursued the Welding Pathway at Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center.

Through the pathway, Taylor said he was able to obtain several welding certificates and learn the basics of the welding trade. He also acted as a tour guide for middle school students as they toured the campus. Additionally, he was on the fabrication team that competed in welding competitions in several locations.

In the fall of his junior year of high school, Taylor visited Schardein Mechanical in Elizabethtown and the Local 502 Union school. That spring, he applied for a summer job at Schardein Mechanical.

From the summer job, he was able to continue employment through the CHHS cooperative education program. During his senior year, Taylor applied to the Local 502 Apprenticeship Program. After being accepted to the school and upon graduation, Taylor began working at Schardein full-time. He attends classes two nights per week.

Local 502 Union for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Service Technicians is an apprenticeship trade organization specializing in mechanical systems. Taylor said the apprenticeship is a five-year program learning trades, earning a Journeyman’s Card, and finishing with an associate’s degree in applied science.

Taylor said there are many different contractors that employ workers from the Local 502 Union, Schardein being one of them. As a pipefitter journeyman, Taylor will specialize in constructing and maintaining piping systems for boilers, equipment process pipe and plumbing lines.

“My ultimate goal is to grow and expand my career with Local 502 and Schardein Mechanical. Outside of work, my plan is to eventually buy some land and start my own cattle farm,” he said. “I chose this route because I enjoy working with my hands and challenging myself to excel and learn new things.”

EC3 Welding Instructor Chris Basham, who has known Taylor since 2020 when he joined the summer school basic welding class, described Taylor’s work ethic as incredible.

“He advanced to be a very good student and welder,” he said. “… I see Conner going far in his welding career mainly because of his hard work ethic and always wanting to learn new things. He is a remarkable and talented young man.”

Taylor said he is motivated and driven simply by doing the best he can and striving for perfection.

“I have been working since I was young, working on family farms, owning and partnering in a handyman service while in high school, and now with the Local 502 Apprenticeship Program,” he said. “College is not for everyone, for those looking for an excellent career, I would highly recommend EC3 in high school and learning a trade when they graduate.

Hard work really does pay off, stay focused on achieving goals, and have a plan.”

Taylor, who began working with Calvin Nall and Nall’s Service Center at age 12, also was a member of the CHHS bass fishing team for two years.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or