High demand for welders sparks certification competition

March 17, 2014

More than 4,000 new welding certifications were administered in 2013, thanks to a competition sponsored by the labor-management unit of the International Association of Iron Workers, Washington, D.C. The 12-month, inaugural Welding Certification Contest drew thousands of participants from among hundreds of local unions nationwide, resulting in 4,537 new qualifications/certifications in structural welding.

Divided into four categories based on the membership size of the participating local unions, the contest focused on a key goal: increasing the number of union welders qualified and certified in structural welding -- an aspect of iron work that is in high demand worldwide. The competition also served as incentive for local unions to compete for funds to improve their training capacity.

Four local unions (Austin, Texas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Milwaukee; and San Diego) received a $10,000 award from the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) for meeting the requirements to certify the most members in structural welding. The locals will use the money for training materials and equipment.

In 2010 there were 337,300 jobs for welders, cutters, solderers, and brass workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. By 2020 that number is expected to increase by as much as 15 percent.