This feature article from DeKalb’s Daily Chronicle showcases welding in the DeKalb County area, including the welding program at Kishwaukee College. There are currently 76 students in the program, and a dozen students receive certification each semester. Zach Miller, a current welding student, is preparing for his American Welding Society (AWS) certification which will give him the opportunity to land a job at one of the many local companies that require the certification. According to Zachary Caccia, welding instructor at Kishwaukee, some of the skills gap in the industry is due to a stigma against blue-collar work. He says “For the past 15 or 20 years, the high school counselors have been telling everybody ‘you got to go to college. You don’t want to have a blue collar job’… that’s why there’s such a demand for skilled workers now, because no one was trained to do this work, and it’s got to be done.”

Demand for welders is up. 238,692 new and replacement welding jobs will open in the industry through 2019. According to Bernie Pupino, Manufacturing Coordinator of Kishwaukee’s Career Technologies division, “a lot of people are retiring, the baby boomers are moving out, and in turn goes a certain amount of welders. The need is there and technology is demanding it.”

Click here to read the full article in the Daily Chronicle.

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