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Welders build our future and are in critical demand

Feb 08, 2020 11:13AM ● By Arianne Brown

This is part two of a series Serve Daily is doing on trades and the need for more skilled workers. In 2019, the Department of Labor reported the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled skilled labor jobs, but only 6.5 million people were looking for work. With population growing, and skilled workers decreasing in numbers, Serve Daily hopes that through this series of articles, it will encourage individuals to consider learning a trade and pursuing a future in the labor workforce.

Shipping containers stacked on top of one another to make something beautiful, and useful. This is what is taking place in Springville’s soon-to-be “Container Corner.” This colorful building made of recycled shipping containers could not be completed without skilled workers who have learned trades.

One trade that this structure requires is welding. Dillon Hales of Yeti Welding, who is head of a crew working on the project, says that welding is a trade that is needed.

“I am always looking for people to work for me and learn the trade,” Hales said. “I started welding when I was 15-years-old. Much of it is on the job training, and you can learn it fairly quickly.”

Welding is the process of joining two metals together. Welders must prepare the metals by cutting them, and then use heat and filler materials to fuse the metals together. The shipping containers, Hales said, require a lot of each.

“The shipping containers being used on the Container Corner project are surplus containers from overseas, and most of them have scratches and dents with holes that can leak water,” he said. “We have to use all our welding skills to make sure the holes are patched, and to join the containers together. It’s a challenging process that takes a lot of precision and skill.”

Those skills, according to Career and Technical Education program specialist at Nebo School District, Shaun Black says are priceless and extremely needed.

“This particular industry needs hard workers,” Black said. “For students, the time they spend welding will be surpassed their first two weeks in the industry, so the main things they need to develop are responsibility, respect, and honesty. If an employer can find someone who shows up on time, works the whole time, and they don’t have to worry about tools being taken from them, the employers will train the student to the job they are needing someone to fill.”

Hales agrees, adding that he trains his employees to become their own bosses.

“I’ve never met a welder who doesn’t want to work for him/herself,” Hales said. “Welders can do so many things. If I can get someone I can teach for six months, I feel confident that this person can place at a higher paying job or go out on their own.”

Black, who spent 23 years in the welding industry before teaching the trade for Nebo School District, says that while trades might not be for everyone, they are a good option for many. 

“I think that it’s important to note that trades aren’t for everyone, nor is the computer industry,” Black said. “There are a lot of students out there willing to get their hands dirty and these are the students that the education facilities should be looking for from within and aligning them to future trade jobs. I feel like the educational environment pushes students towards a ‘college only road’ to success. My personal belief is that college is a great avenue to pursue if you don’t know a trade.”

To know more about the trade industry, contact local welding companies to begin learning on the job. (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)