Industry Leaders Raise Welding Appreciation Among High School Educators

January 2009 Vol. 236 No. 1

The future is bright for welding. That was the message conveyed to more than 100 Wisconsin high school counselors, educators and administrators at a recent symposium on welding careers in Neenah. WI. The event was sponsored by Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., Airgas, Miron Construction and AZCO Inc.

Designed to inform the attendees about the salary potential and wide variety of careers that can grow from an education in welding, the Career Horizons: Welding symposium featured presentations by current welding students, graduates of welding programs, industry experts and high school administrators.

Larry Haase, principal at Menasha High School, said, “I had no idea how many career pathways were available through a welding education until I became involved in this program. We’ve all ascended through our careers by starting at step one, and a welding education can be a launching pad for a wide variety of careers in dozens of industries.”

Attendees learned that there are 2,900 unfilled welding jobs in Wisconsin alone and that 360 new openings are created each year with an average salary of nearly $19/hour and potential salaries of well over $100/hour. Further, there is an anticipated nationwide shortage of over 200,000 welders predicted by 2010, which will only increase the demand and salaries of trained welders.

A major goal of the event was to encourage high school personnel to reach out to the industries and businesses in their communities to form partnerships that can improve the quality of the schools’ technical education programs.