What the Future of Washington High School Welders Looks Like
High school sports teams get all the attention this time of year, but skilled trades competitors will get the jobs and high-paying jobs.
So let’s talk about… soldering.
Builders of the future
Much like the district and regional basketball tournaments that are underway right now, the school district welding competition is also heating up the week.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, more than 80 student welders from across the state will gather at the Wapato High School Ag. Mechanics Shop to compete in a district welding contest. Never assume, so… what is welding?
Welding is a manufacturing process in which two or more parts are fused together by means of heat, pressure, or both, forming a joint when the parts cool. Welding is typically used on metals and thermoplastics, but can also be used on wood. The completed welded joint can be called a weld.
In other words, welding is the process that keeps much of the world together and in its place. It comes across as kind of important in my book! (My father knew how to weld and I have an uncle and brother-in-law who are both highly skilled professional welders)
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The competition at Wapato will be based on real-world industry standards, with students judged on their ability to read blueprints and work with others to successfully complete a project with the proper welds.
Welding has a solid future
The employment of welders, cutters, brazers and brazers is is expected to grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030, about as fast as the average for all professions. About 49,200 openings for welders, cutters, welders and brazers are projected each year, on average, in the decade that could change for the better for welders with baby boomers retiring and the bill on Biden infrastructure generating projects that will require welders.
Welding is one of the highest-paying skilled trades in the country, with a median entry-level wage of over $40,000 per year, or about $20 per hour. It’s also an accessible career since the requirement to start learning the trade is usually a high school diploma (or GED).
Meet the need, earn money
the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reported that 60% of manufacturers looking to hire reject about half of all applicants because they lack welding skills and training. NAM also reports that more than 80% of US manufacturers complain that they cannot find enough qualified welders to meet demand.
In Washington State, the average base wage for a welder is $21.67 an hour, but welders working for the Department of Energy can earn $52.60 an hour… that’s over $100,000 a year.
And while welding is a male-dominated profession, there’s always a chance you’ll run into someone like the seductive Alex (Jennifer Beals) who welded and seduced in the movie “Flashdance.” The song “Flashdance…What A Feeling” won the award for best song in cinema.
Good luck to the young welders of the State, Wednesday and in the future.
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