The demand for trained welders is on the rise nationally, but recent economic development in Madison County has made that trend even more significant locally. To help prepare the local workforce for these jobs, Drake State Community & Technical College hosts an annual welding skills competition designed to enhance training provided to area high school students and prepare them for future competitions and employment. This year’s event included 24 high school students from Brewer High School, Madison County Schools Career Technical Center, DeKalb County Schools Technology Center and Earnest Pruett Center of Technology.
“These students are already interested in welding and perhaps other advanced manufacturing careers,” said Robert Grissim, director of Workforce Development at Drake State. “Today’s event and many of the initiatives at Drake State are meant to nurture that interest and encourage students to consider technical degrees, many of which can lead to high-paying jobs.”
Students performed multiple welding processes including Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Medal Arc Welding (GMAW), Flux-core Arc Welding (FLUX) and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). The welds will be judged by a certified welding inspector. Students could compete as first-year beginners or at a more advanced level. The day also included two separate competitions – one for high school students who wanted to participate in the aluminum competition, and another for Drake State welding students to compete for the opportunity to go to the state Skills USA competition in 2020.