By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology, Houston Campus President
The American Welding Society and many other industry organizations, employers and career colleges such as ours are shining the spotlight on the welding profession throughout the month of April in a major campaign dubbed “National Welding Month.”
Given that the Houston campus of MIAT College of Technology is committed to playing a strategic role in addressing the growing demand for qualified welders and other skilled workers, the timing is perfect to explain how our faculty and staff are accommodating welding students and the employers who will hire them upon completion of their Welding Technology Program requirements.
MIAT introduced 3-month, 7-month and 9-month welding programs at our Houston campus last summer, and I am pleased and honored to report that welding student enrollment at our Houston Campus has been steadily rising. We are accommodating this growth by adding more welding booths and more classes. The program has increased by 250 percent since September 2018.
Welding Supports Many Industrial Needs
Welding has a huge impact on virtually every aspect of daily life that many of us unwittingly take for granted. Welders play a key role in making the world a better, safer place by assisting in the manufacture and assembly of personal and commercial vehicles and aircraft, constructing hospitals and schools, and erecting bridges and overpasses – structures and products that are commonplace in industrialized societies such as ours.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected employment for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is expected to reach 427,300 by 2026 – an increase of 6 percent over 2016 employment of 404,800. The BLS attributes this growth to importance and versatility of welding across the manufacturing process, which are similar regardless of industry sector and leads to “employment security.” Also, the nation’s aging infrastructure is driving the demand for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers to assist with revamping upgrade bridges, highways and buildings. Still others are needed to support the construction of new power generation facilities and pipelines used for transporting oil and natural gas. (Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm)
Currently, only about 6 percent of all welders are women, which signals an excellent opportunity for recruiting girls and women into the profession. Several career colleges and industry organizations are launching special initiatives to equip women with welding skills by hosting summer welding camps exclusively for them and offering classes led by women instructors. Here are a few interesting articles focused on attracting and training women welders that you might enjoy reading as much as I did:
“There’s a Shortage of Welders. Will More Women Fill the Gap?” by Liana Aghajanian, The Atlantic, Aug. 21, 2018
“The Sky Is the Limit for Women in Welding,” by Monica Pfarr, Executive Director, The American Welding Society Foundation, published by Mediaplanet: Future of Business and Tech
A Glimpse into MIAT’s Welding Technology Program
Juan Bernal serves as the lead welding instructor at our Houston campus and was happy to share these perspectives about the reasons why MIAT’s Welding Program is being so well received:
“Our program is gaining traction because of our clean, safe, and comfortable climate-controlled environment. We offer more hands-on training than many other career college programs. We also offer classroom and text book instruction that complements the hands-on portion of the training. I see that our students are enjoying working with our new welding equipment and appreciate our very good exhaust system.”
The types of equipment being used in our Welding Shop are multi-process welding machines such as Miller Dimension 650s, ESAB Rebel 285s, Lincoln Flextec 500, Oxy-acetylene track torches, Oxy-acetylene pipe bevellers, hydraulic band saw, angle grinders and other hand tools needed for welding.
“What makes this special for our students is that these are working examples of equipment that they might encounter in the field. Having access to a diverse range of welding machines gives our students the opportunity to see how some of the many welding machines operate. In our program at MIAT, I stress that having a good work ethic and safety-mindedness are also high priorities. Employers are looking for skilled workers to come into their job not only knowing the trade, but also having a solid work ethic and a safety mindset” Juan said.
Campus Tours and Welding Demos Available
Our Houston campus welcomes inquiries about our Welding Technology program from teens and adults, women and men, parents and guidance counselors, veterans and career changers. We are here to help. To arrange a campus tour or a demonstration with our welding instructors and students, please visit miat.edu or call us at 888-547-7047.