LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — A projected welder deficit of 375,000 is expected to hit by 2023 and instructors at Haney Technical Center are trying to get the word out about the welding industry.
Students in Haney Technical Center’s welding program said dedication is needed to be successful in the field.
“You have to have it or your welds aren’t going to look as good, or you’re just not going to get it any time and you can’t blame others besides yourself really,” said welding student, Noah Salazar.
Salazar said he spends at least six hours a day working on his craft.
“At first it was pretty difficult learning how to do a stick part and then it started getting easier and easier. It’s all about practice,” Salazar said. “Keep burning as many rods as you can all day every day.”
Cameron Fender is also a student of the program. Fender got his bachelor’s degree before realizing welding was the right path for him.
“You drop your hood, there’s no one around to bother you,” Fender said. “Overall it’s just you, and you know you’re just welding so that’s what I love most about it is that you don’t really have a whole bunch of people bothering you you’re just over there and you’re doing your own thing.”
Currently, there is a projected welder deficit that’s expected to reach 375,000 by 2023.
“And it’s been that way I’ve been involved in welding for 40 years and it’s always you know, been that way,” said welding instructor, Eric Johnson. “We have done a real poor job of educating enough people in any of the trades but welding in particular.”
Johnson encourages people to keep an open mind about attended a trade school rather than a college or university.
“You know parents need to be open to to the fact that all kids are not going to college and also one fact that’s overlooked a lot not just in welding but all the trades we have here, there’s also college careers attached to it,” Johnson said. “We’ve had students that come through as high schoolers, didn’t have any idea about going into welding who are now welding engineers.”
Johnson said it’s rare when students who graduate from their program don’t end up with jobs.
“The last time we checked, we had students in 22 different states working and four different countries,” Johnson said.
Haney Technical Center does not require prior experience in order to be enrolled in their welding program. To learn more about Haney Technical Program and the classes they offer, click here.