Thursday, November 20, 2014
I gave myself a welding test the other day. The college changed the format of the class I'm teaching and a welding cert is included as part of the class instead of a separate certification class as it has been in the past. Now the completed plates will be sent out to another campus that is an Accredited Testing Facility. I gave my students a similar test to help prepare them and during the critiquing of the plates, a couple of the students said I should do one. The above photo is the result. There's one little spot on the root bend coupon - probably where I changed rods - but it's a keeper just the same.When I was at the high school I used to do an open butt in the vertical position every year, just to keep my hand in. No practice, just tack the plates together and go. Passed everyone of them for at least the last twenty years. This one was in the flat position (1G) with a back-up strip - the easiest stick certification there is.
I think I'm going to try the open butt vertical (that's a 3G, to be precise) next. Since it's been a couple of years since I left the high school, I might do a practice one. The inverter power sources run a little bit differently than the old rectifiers I'm used to. The voltage is a bit lower and the rod has more of a tendency to stick when you hold a short arc like I tend to do when welding vertical. I've been working on changing my technique a bit but since I passed my first welding test 44 years ago, the habits are pretty much ingrained. If I decide to follow through and take the test, I'll post the results either way. We're on break most all of next week, so may take me a little while.
On a related subject, the American Welding Society weekly e-mail had an article dealing with the skilled trades shortage. Here's an excerpt:
"Houston suffers from a severe shortage of so-called middle-skill workers, people like welders and machinists doing jobs that don't require college degrees but nonetheless pay good salaries and benefits. For example, petrochemical workers in their 20's fresh out of two-year programs are routinely taking home more than $100,000 a year.
Employers face such serious recruiting problems, business leaders earlier this year launched a program called UpSkill Houston designed to drive more workers into those middle-skill jobs. JPMorgan Chase, which has committed $5-million to workforce training Houston, just issued a Houston Skills Gap Report estimating the area already has roughly 1.4-million middle-skill jobs and predicting it will add 74,000 new middle-skill jobs a year between now and 2017.
Driving much of the demand is a projected explosion of construction in the petrochemical industry. An estimated $80-billion is expected to be spent on more than 120 petrochemical facilities around the Houston Ship Channel in the next few years, leaving industry leaders worried about where they'll find enough qualified workers."
The article mentions the fact that Houston has many people without even a high school diploma or a GED but that shouldn't stand in the way of getting the skills training to get one of the middle-skill jobs. I've been to Houston a few times and I never saw it as a place paying exceptionally high wages, so if you're knocking down $100K, I'm thinking you're putting in a lot of hours and Houston weather can be miserable in the summer time. But $100K is $100K. That's not the kind of money I made as a school teacher but they gave me the job I asked for, so no complaints.
If, however, you're looking to make the big money, the jobs are out there but they require a real good command of the trade - pipe welder/fitter, pressure vessel experience, etc., so get yourself into a trade school or an apprenticeship program. To get an idea of what's out there and what they're paying, check here.
Posted by Shop Teacher Bob at 5:00 AM