Welders Straight Out of School

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Deshler High School in Nebraska is doing what every high school should in the face of an impending shortage of welders: it has put into place a program that allows students to graduate with certification from the AWS and to enter the workforce immediately thereafter.

Welding program prepares students as industry faces worker shortage

BY KEVIN ABOUREZK / Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:25 am |

DESHLER – This is what Zack Bohling enjoys: Placing two pieces of metal against each other and burning them together with a welding torch.

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(Erin Duerr / Lincoln Journal Star)

If you visit Deshler High School on any given weekday afternoon, you’ll likely find the senior in the metal shop, surrounded by a shower of sparks.

“I like welding and shop work and that kind of stuff,” he said. “I like everything about it.”

He likes it so much he’s considering becoming a professional welder after he graduates from high school.

“I’d like something ag or welding related,” he said.

A welding program started last year at Deshler and starting this year at nearby Fillmore Central High School in Geneva is giving students like Bohling the chance to gain skills necessary to becoming professional welders.

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Some Quick Welding Facts:

* More than 500,000 welders are employed in the United States.

* Welding expenditures represent $34.1 billion annually – or $325 for every household.

* Nearly half of all U.S. industries report difficulties finding qualified welders – from apprentices to engineers.

* The average age of a welder is the mid-50s, with many approaching 60.

* More than half of the welding industry’s highly trained workforce is nearing retirement, creating a potential shortage of more than 200,000 skilled welders by 2010.

Source: American Welding Society

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