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Tampa Bay area facing shortage of trained welders

Welding Shortage
Posted at 9:06 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 11:01:03-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area is now facing a decline of welders and it could end up costing us the ability to beef up infrastructure and manufactured goods.

The American Welding Society is now predicting a nationwide shortage of more than 450,000 skilled welding professionals by 2022.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find people who are doing it,” said Brian Thompson, owner of Metal Supermarkets in Tampa.

However, Thompson said there is a critical need for their services as much of the nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of skilled workers to rebuild bridges, highways and buildings. 

While many students and parents only focus on four-year college degrees as a path to a career, welding can offer a lucrative career without lots of college debt.  

Becoming a trained welder only requires a high school or trade school degree while also providing on-the-job training, according to Thompson.

Due to the demand for their services, welders often enjoy greater job security and advanced pay.

"Coming out of a one-year program here in Tampa, they can make six figures a year,” Thompson said.
Pinellas County Technical College: Welding Technology

Many Metal Supermarkets stores also partner with local trade schools or community colleges that have welding programs. They donate supplies and metal materials and hire students in part-time roles while serving as mentors for the next generation of welders.

Welding Programs in the Tampa Bay Area
Pasco-Hernando State College: Welding Technology
Hillsborough Community College: Welding Technology
Erwin Technical College: Welding Technology
Pinellas County Technical College: Welding Technology