Welders in demand across the country - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Welders in demand across the country


OWATONNA, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's not your father's job anymore. The nation is experiencing a shortage of welders, drawing young people to the trade.

That's inspired one business to start a welding program. They held their first class today.

The three day class at the Huber Welding Institute in Owatonna is meant to teach students the basics of one type of welding.

Welding is a complicated trade that can take years to learn, but learning a few basic techniques can give people the skills they need for some entry level jobs.

"I'll have the sun in my hands," said Jason Rubedor, a student in the class. "Stay warm all the time. And it will be a lot of fun."

Rubedor says he loves working with heat and is hoping the three day class will make a big impact on his future.

"Right now I"am working at McDonalds and I'm trying to find something that's going to get me a little bit further in life, and I want to eventually be able to move out of my mothers house," Rubedor said.

So he's trying his hand at welding. Rubedor has no welding experience, but decided to take the three day welding course at the Huber Welding Institute after his mother read about it in the paper, and Rubedor thought it might be right up his ally.

"I already like to do soldering and stuff like that," he said.

And he's not the only one.

But what's the draw bringing young welders into what was once an old man's trade?

"Well for one, it can get you a job," said Cody Huber, the Regional Sales Manager for Huber Supply. 

That's exactly because welding is your father's job. Most current welders in the U.S. are baby boomers, and they're retiring.

"There's a national need for a lot of welders," said Duane Petterson, who teaches the welding class. "There's a lot of welders retiring at a faster rate than they're coming into the industry."

So now there's a shortage of welders, and even in a modern, mechanized world -- its a trade that isn't going away.

"There really isn't anything out there that isn't affected by welding when you stop and think about it," Petterson said.

Petterson has been teaching welding for 34 years and he understands the appeal of the trade.

"I think being able to look at a stack of metal over here and turn it into something," Petterson said. 

In his time teaching, Petterson says he's seen plenty of ups and down in employment opportunities, but now he joins the chorus of voices with Huber that has one message for potential welders.

"If you know how to weld and you know how to weld good, you're going to get hired," Huber said.

The Huber Welding Institute will be holding welding classes every other week throughout the year.

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