By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology, Houston Campus President
The month of April has been designated as National Welding Month as well as Financial Literacy Month. How and why do these two designations become worthy of contemplation? What’s the connection between welding and financial literacy?
In preparing for my blog this month, I had the opportunity to pause and reflect upon the value that welders deliver to society as well as the financial independence that is attainable for those men and women who pursue a career in welding or any other skilled trade.
Welders play a key role in just about every aspect of life and work while accomplishing their tasks in all types of weather conditions, on earth and below the surface of the sea. According to the American Welding Society, the welding industry will face a shortage of about 400,000 welders by 2024. The average age of a welder is 55, and experienced welders who are approaching retirement will leave our nation with a significant deficit in skilled welders in the work force.
MIAT campuses in Houston and Canton, Michigan, near Detroit are helping to fill that gap in equipping the future generation of welders with knowledge and skills that will enable them to maximize their earning potential for decades. Our MIAT Welding Technician programs are available for students interested in securing a certification in three to nine months. Approximately 60 welding students are currently enrolled at our Houston campus which is led by MIAT Houston faculty member Juan Bernal and supported by three additional faculty members. Since October 2018, our Houston campus has graduated 66 welding students — almost 10 percent of whom are women!
The outlook for our welding graduates continues to be promising as new efforts are under way to improve America’s infrastructure. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020 median pay for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers was $21.25 per hour with 438,900 people employed in this profession as of 2019. The rate of growth for this profession for the 10-year period of 2019 through 2029 is 3 percent per year. Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm
The American Welding Society is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the welding profession or enhancing welding knowledge and skills. This organization, which was established in 1919, offers an extensive range of information, certifications, online courses and events for our students and graduates. Please visit www.aws.org for details. Student memberships are available for as little as $15 per year.
Another resource to explore is WELD.com, which hosts a YouTube channel with helpful videos on a variety of topics for men and women at various stages in their welding career.
Now is also an excellent time to recognize and thank our welding industry partners who contribute their insights and perspectives to enhance our welding curriculum. Representatives from Galfab Texas, FabCorp, and Material Storage Systems, Inc. have graciously contributed their time and talent to supporting our faculty, staff, students and graduates as guest speakers and Program Advisory Committee members.
Skilled Workers Gain Financial Literacy and Financial Independence
First and foremost, I want all our students and graduates to know how grateful I am that they have chosen MIAT College of Technology for career and technical education that can create a solid financial foundation for them and their entire family.
A career college or vocational tech school is the right place for men and women of all ages who want to gain a specific skillset, enter the workforce as soon as possible, and realize a positive return on investment in as little as 7 to 24 months of studies. For those approaching graduation or recently graduated, MIAT offers career counseling, resume building assistance, interview skills training, and access to internships, apprenticeships, and job fairs.
As we have learned in the past year, individuals who develop specific, esseential skills are likely to be assured of ongoing, steady employment in even the toughest of economic times. Time and again, I have heard from graduates who have maintained their employment and their ability to provide financially for their family members during the most intense months of the COVID-19 lockdown. My stepson is one of them. An aviation graduate who now works in the pipeline industry, my stepson never experienced a single day in 2020 that he was not able to report to work. Being furloughed or laid off was never a concern for him. Thankfully, his pay was never interrupted Essential workers will always be in high demand – which can assure them financial security and, potentially, financial independence.
I am humbled that MIAT can play an important role every day in helping our graduates pursue their career education goals, enter the workforce in a few short months or years, and establish a pathway to long-term financial success.
As all of us continue to recover from the challenges of 2020, I encourage each of you to examine your educational and employment goals. Then, if needed, make the necessary changes that will enable you to achieve those goals. Please check out our programs at www.miat.edu, and please encourage others to do the same. MIAT team members are ready and able to assist with scheduling a virtual or actual tour of our campus. Face coverings are required to enter our facilities. Thank you for your support!
As always, I invite your comments and suggestions. Please email me anytime at JWillis@miat.edu.