Gaps in Welder Numbers

Gaps+in+Welder+Numbers

Sergio Gonzalez, Staff Writer

As the world’s industries continue to grow at astonishing rates the number of welders needed in the workforce continues to skyrocket. The numbers are so great that the number of skilled welders can not fill the needs, but what makes the industry so demanding?

“Everything in todays society is being built out of metal products for strength purposes,” said Joey Isbell, the welding teacher at Waxahachie High School.

The use of metal to construct everything from the skyscrapers that line city skylines to the microchips in our cellphones means that welders are a necessity within our modern day society. The need is so, great especially now that the baby-boom generation is beginning to retire, that salaries for welders surpass $100 an hour, but even with the astonishing wages there is still a huge gap in welder numbers.

Million dollar industries, such as Exxon mobile, are feeling the effects of the large lack of welders. So much that they have began pledging millions of dollars to schools that can train the welders they need to meet the demand.

“This just confirms the need for welders,” said Isbell, “There is a big swing in education from sending students to 4 year colleges to sending them to technical colleges that teach them skills that they can use to find jobs as soon as they hit the work force.”  Isbell has seen how welders who were once seen as second class citizens are now filling the first and second classes that college graduates are beginning to fall out of. This in part because of the huge demand for skilled laborers.

“Guys with college degrees can not find jobs, but guys with skills are snatched out of school before they can even finish,” said Isbell.

While some people argue that living the life of a welder can only provide for so long, they do not see how a welding career can lead someone into more technical careers. When asked, Isbell said,”Knowing how to weld can lead someone into engineering careers because the ability to understand how metals need to fit together is crucial within this career.” This mens that students can live the life of a welder and travel, seeing places they could not see with most jobs obtained with a college degrees,  and then turn around when the time comes and start careers in more technical jobs.

The possibilities for welders are limitless. A blue collar job that provides a white collar way of life. This is why Joey Isbell pushes his student to do their best day after day so that they can help fill the industry needs while earning wages that some college graduates can not even image.

The money is there, its just a matter of finding the welders.