Welders needed

DoD helps transitioning soldiers find work training

By J.M. Simpson on August 18, 2022

Welding works where duct tape fails. And while there is no shortage of duct tape, there is a nationwide shortage of welders.

"We're 400,000 welders short in this nation right now," said Les Davis, an Army veteran and director of military services at Tulsa Welding School, in a recent Military.com article.

"A lot of companies need welders ... CSX Railroad needs welders. Ingalls Shipbuilding is on campus every other week. SpaceX, General Dynamics, Bainbridge Excel, from top to bottom, everyone needs welders."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates welding jobs have a median annual income of over $47,000.

The Tulsa Welding School (with campuses also in Jacksonville, FL and Houston TX) offers transitioning military members a couple of incentives to think about concerning this career field.

Along with its discounted tuition rates for service members, the welding school has also partnered with DoD Skillbridge. This program allows military members to begin their welding education during their last 180 days on active duty. The military also allows for permissive temporary duty assignment to one of the school's three campuses.

Davis also said that veterans are loyal and dedicated workers who have a good work ethic. "They wanna be part of the team again, like they were part of the military. I mean, everything you want in an employee, you get with a veteran."

During the Tulsa Welding School's 18-week course, students begin with the basics and advance through more complex instruction as they learn about different types of welds, materials and the tools needed to do the work.

Near the end of the course, students work with the school's career office in refining resumes (complete with the keywords needed to pass through the software on many job-post websites in order to reach a human being) and then begin the process of applying for work in an area where they want to live.

"We definitely connect the dots," Davis explained. "We don't guarantee anything because there are certain things the students have to do on their own. They have to pass a weld test. They have to pass the interview. Since we have a 94% placement rate, we're not too worried about our students getting jobs afterwards."

No previous welding training is required to enroll; tuition is 20k for military members; and the school accepts post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, military tuition assistance, and funding from other Veterans Administration sources.

"I've been working with veterans since 2006," concluded Davis. "I am probably the luckiest guy in the world. I love watching these young kids, transitioning out and seeing them get to work. It's inspirational. It's good for employers, and it's good for the veterans."

For more information, visit www.tws.edu/programs/professional-welding-training/ and visit its military services website.