Regarding the cost of an adult welding education course. I went and did one a few years back to come up to speed with MIG/TIG. I'd done a fair bit of stick and oxy years ago, but hadn't stayed with the times as these new technologies became common. Anyhow to the point, I think the current cost of a 10 week 1 night a week (3 hour) course here is currently something like $250. I remember thinking at the time i did the course, I'd used nearly as much steel, gas, rods, and wire (all supplied) as the cost of the course. Getting to use a wide variety of different machine types (inverter, old transformer, etc) was invaluable. For stick welding, the saving by knowing how good and easy to use a heavy old $50 trade quality stick machine can be compared to some of the new price point 'do it all' machines would pay for the course.