Metal melted and sparks flew for two weeks at Honolulu Community College and Hawai’i Community College’s welding facility as instructors from around the state and from the mainland convened for a “WeldEd” workshop organized by the National Center for Welding Education and Training, better known as WeldEd.
WeldEd’s mission is to expand the number of high-skilled welding technicians as the country faces a major shortfall in the next several years. Jeffery Lane, an assistant professor of welding at Honolulu Community College, said the skilled workforce shortage in welding between now and 2019 is estimated at 308,000 workers.
“So what we’re trying to do with these modules is train the instructors so they can train the students and get them into this line of work,” said Lane, who is the regional representative for WeldEd and organized the workshop. “A lot of the shortfall is because baby boomers are retiring.”
Growth in wind and solar energy development, plus the boom in shale gas, has added to the demand for welders, said Lane, and that demand has helped increase the estimated shortage of technicians. In addition, some manufacturing is returning to the United States after outsourcing, said Lane.
There were nearly 20 instructors participating in the two week series, brushing up on their knowledge of weld quality and inspection, welding codes, specifications and safety.
WeldEd participants came from O’ahu, the Big Island, Ohio, California, and Washington State. Many of the local participants are instructors at various programs at Honoulu and Hawai’i CC and with their respective campus Construction Academy program that is offered in Department of Education high schools throughout the state.
Story adapted from Hawai’i CC press release.