Barely 18, Part I

October 1, 2013

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Posts on The Fabricator Blog typically don’t generate much feedback, and that doesn’t surprise me. I read blogs and many thought-provoking articles every day, and most have comment capability. How many times have I commented? Not once. I get why people don't comment. There are far more of us who don't than do.

This is why I pay close attention to every comment that does come in for a post, as well as those left for articles on thefabricator.com. All are put through a vetting process to weed out spam before they are approved—not a function of the site to promote Cialis and other drugs.

The most recent blog post comment that required my approval made me really sad.

Joe wrote the following in response to the post “My story: How I became a welder”: I love welding but no one will give me a shot. I know I can do it. I will prove it one of these days and will come back and share my story. I'm barely eighteen, and I have a lot to say (about my welding experience), but I was never legally of age to work.”

While we continue to hear about welding jobs being hard to fill, we also continue to hear about welders, like Joe, having difficulty finding work.

Jobs seem to be concentrated in the energy sector and those areas of the country heavily involved in this sector, like Texas and North Dakota. Not all welders can uproot their lives to move to a location where welding is more in demand. And what’s more, they really can’t afford to, at least not as beginners. If you have the skills, certifications, and experience necessary, you may move into a well-paying job, even six figures. Just starting out? Most likely, just barely in the two-figure range. Not much different from working at some fast-food restaurants or collecting unemployment.

I don’t know Joe’s backstory. I have no idea what kind of training he’s had or how proficient his welding skills are. I do know that he feels positive about his ability and likes welding. Why else would he be reading about the topic and commenting about his desire to share his story?

Well, I plan to find out more. As soon as this post is uploaded, I’m going to reach out to Joe at the e-mail address that accompanied his comment. Perhaps he’ll be willing to engage in a dialogue with me about his background, ambitions, and the roadblocks he’s encountered—roadblocks that may well be shared by others trying to find welding jobs these days.

It’s a sad, sad story when eager young workers, and those not so young, can’t get a shot at a job.

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Vicki Bell

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