April is National Welding Month, which makes this an appropriate time to celebrate the welding industry and the significant role that it’s played in our nation’s history and economic development—one that will continue to propel our country’s growth. To that end, the need for skilled welders remains in high demand. In fact, the National Association of Manufacturers reports that 81 percent of U.S. manufacturers say they can’t find enough skilled welders to meet their current job demands. Like most employers, they are looking for highly skilled workers with quality training from a well-known school.
If you are a proud welder who wants to support your local community by developing the next generation of welders, here are some ways that you can be a strong ambassador for your craft.
Share your working experience with students at a local technical school or at career day. You can have an immeasurable impact on someone who may not otherwise get exposure to welding as a vocation. The hands-on, physical aspect of welding will likely be interesting to students as not every job gives you the satisfaction of producing something tangible.
Mentor a future welder with ongoing contact and support. Have them tour your shop or the facility where you work, taking them through a typical day on the job. Work with local schools and businesses to find potential mentor candidates and help them get started in a welding position.
Make a donation to a charitable organization that supports and develops careers in manufacturing. The American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation offers a mix of programs and scholarships that are designed to foster the welding industry. AWS donations will help fund grants, workforce development resources and other initiatives like the AWS Careers in Welding Trailer—a 53-foot mobile interactive experience that shares welding exhibits with the community in an engaging and memorable way. Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs offers summer manufacturing camps to teens in technical high schools around the country. Another great charity to consider is Workshop for Warriors, a non-profit organization that was founded by a U.S. Navy serviceman and helps veterans transition into the workforce, including into manufacturing positions.
Donate new or gently-used equipment, tools and accessories to your local schools. This will give students the tools that they need for hands-on experience but without the expense.
Support or start an apprenticeship program. The student apprentice gets an opportunity to acquire training without running up their debt and the employer gets the chance to grow and retain a skilled welding employee. Many manufacturing companies are investing in apprenticeship programs to ensure that they’ll have the experienced workforce that they need in the future.
Share your love on social media. Share a photo of your welding work or post why you love your job on your favorite social platform. This simple outreach is easy way to introduce others to the rewarding and fulfilling world of welding.