Skilled worker shortage: New program seeks to provide training

10/10/2006


Miami, FL —The American Welding Society (AWS) is launching a program to address what it says is a U.S. shortage of trained welders. The society has received initial funding for the effort in the form of a million dollar pledge from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. and Hobart Brothers Co. The money will be used to establish the AWS Welder Workforce Development program, which will fund training of entry-level welders and specialized training of existing welders.

According to AWS and other industry research, the average age of a welder is in the mid-50s. Fewer graduates are entering the profession and about half of the experienced welding workforce is expected to retire in the near future. The society says these factors are leading to a shortage of skilled welders that could weaken U.S. manufacturing and the overall economy.

Bruce Albrecht, a member of the AWS board of directors and trustee of the AWS foundation, will represent the donor companies on an AWS foundation committee formed to help establish the workforce program. The AWS foundation was set up in 1990 to provide scholarships to welding students.

Said Sundaram Nagarajan, Hobart Brothers group vice president, “Our industry must support the efforts that AWS has undertaken,” adding that it must be an effort of the entire welding industry to address this critical shortage.

For a related item from Control Engineering , read: “Fanuc Robotics America starts 'Save Your Factory' effort.”

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor