What is Welding and Why Do We Need Welders?

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The American Welding Society stated in their report “Vision for Welding Industry” that “Welding, the fusing of the surfaces of two workpieces to form one is a precise, reliable, cost-effective, and ‘high-tech’ method for joining materials.

No other technique is as widely used by manufacturers to join metals and alloys efficiently and to add value to their products. Most of the familiar objects in modern society, from buildings and bridges, to vehicles, computers, and medical devices, could not be produced without the use of welding.”

“The welding laboratory at MCC is one of the most high-tech welding labs in a 100 mile radius.”

“The welding program at Mott Community College is built around industry certification through the American Welding Society (AWS) so that a student who successfully completes the program has demonstrated mastery of industry requirements,” stated Jerald Staley, Welding faculty at MCC. Staley himself is an AWS CWI (Certified Welding Instructor) and an AWS CWE (Certified Welding Educator).

Students are tested at each step along the way. Each test has rigid standards for success. “Every process is tested and retested at least twice,” Staley said, “If a student successfully completes the program, the student can have earned at least nine AWS certifications. You can complete the program as an AWS-Certified Welder.”

The core of the welding curriculum is designed to teach all four major processes used in welding. Starting with the Welding Processes class, students move on to classes in Base Metal Preparation, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding and Flux Cored Arc Welding. Other required classes include a course in technical math and either a course in mechanical blueprint reading or in general computer use.

Welding students strive to earn a certificate of achievement at Mott to acquire the skills they need in the industry. Welders must learn a range of techniques for welding a variety of metals, including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Students at Mott learn how to weld in several welding positions, flat, vertical and overhead, and they learn several cutting techniques.

Staley and the other welding faculty take pride in the high quality of the program at MCC. “The welding laboratory at MCC is one of the most high-tech welding labs in a 100 mile radius,” he reported.

Welding jobs start at $15 to $16 an hour with benefits and rise from there. Job growth over the next decade is projected to rise steadily at 15%, and according to the U.S. Department of labor, “Properly skilled welders with up-to-date training should have the best job prospects.” The US Department of Labor on their O*Net web site reported an 8% increase in the need for Welders in Michigan. Workforce Intelligence Network report Working Smarter stated… that for Southeast Michigan the median hourly wage for welders was $18.14. O*Net Online indicates that welding has a Bright Outlook.

Students graduating from Mott and that have earned all nine of the AWS industry certifications are in high demand by industry. They are employed in Genesee, Shiawassee & Lapeer Counties, as well as along the I-75 corridor. Welders work in many fields including the automotive, defense, aviation, energy and construction industries.

Clark Harris and Michael Kelly

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