Monday, August 18, 2008

Beating the Dead Horse

At the risk of repeating myself over and over again, the August Welding Journal has several articles about the need for welders. The opinion piece by Wes Morgan of Thermadyne Industries is a dandy. He talks about the need for welding personnel and what industry is doing to change the situation through partnerships, advertising and supporting schools that are teaching welding and engineering.

Other articles talk about workforce development programs combating the welder shortage, bringing manufacturing jobs back to Chicago and how an engineer motivated Texas schools to offer career courses in welding. All three of the articles offer innovative solutions to the welder shortage and all of them are focusing on education as the answer, either as a way to expose people to the welding and manufacturing field or to actually train people to enter the workforce with job ready skills. I especially like the approach in Chicago.

Austin Polytech will be linked generally to careers in modern manufacturing and principally to the metalworking sector. The school's administrative team will promote career paths in skilled production and technical positions, as well as management and ownership of companies. Austin Polytechnical prepares students for college as well as preparing those students who will be seeking employment immediately after graduation. The curriculum is anchored in a preengineering program called Project Lead the Way, with a focus on machining. Project Lead the Way has an outstanding reputation for assisting minority students in getting placed in engineering schools. Each student will graduate with at least two National Institute of Metalworking Skills credentials and perhaps as many as eight, qualifying them for immediate employment in skilled positions out of high school.

If you want to go to college, they've got you covered. If you want or need to go to work, they've got you covered. No one graduates without being prepared. It's such a simple concept you would think all schools would be doing that. Today marks the beginning of the new school year for me, so I'll try to at least do my part.

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