Did you know that there are more job openings in the skilled trades than there are workers to fill them? In fact, a shortage of 400,000 welders is predicted by 2024. Why? Because older welders are retiring, and younger welders aren’t replacing them fast enough. The average age of a welder is 55, and fewer than 20 percent are under the age of 35.
While this sounds like bad news for our industry, it’s great news for aspiring welders who can learn the trade and leverage their skills to secure well-paying jobs. This predicted shortage of welders makes welding a sustainable career choice for years to come with numerous job opportunities for those wanting to enter the field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3 percent projected job growth for welders over the next ten years. Plus, wages for welders have been growing consistently year over year, with the pay averaging $42,500 a year and the highest paid welders earning $64,000 a year or more.
Welding training programs like the Tuscaloosa County School System (TCSS) Welding Technology Program are helping mitigate the welder shortage that the industry is facing by equipping students with the skills they need. Atlas has been an advisory supporter of the TCSS Welding Technology Program since its inception.
The TCSS Welding Technology Program is housed at the Northport Career Tech Annex on the campus of Tuscaloosa County High School, where Welding Instructor Dustin Wright teaches high school students the fundamentals of welding.
“When running a school program with several students, there are many times you need repair parts or gas on short notice,” Wright said. “Atlas is always there to support our program and students while making sure that we don’t have to be without the things we need to operate on a daily basis. They also make whatever we buy as reasonable as possible as far as pricing goes!”
Atlas is proud to support a program that supports the welding industry as a whole by training students to meet the future demand for welders.
“Without the continued support of Atlas, our program would not be the success that it is today,” Wright said. “We know that as long as we have Atlas here to count on, we will always be able to provide whatever is needed for the success of our students.”