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ECC-trained welders in high demand

TIG-welding.jpg

Welders are in high demand in the Edgecombe area. To meet the need, Edgecombe Community College is offering two welding classes that begin in January.

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From Contributed Reports

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Welding is among the fastest growing professions in America, a trend that is especially evident in Edgecombe County.

“The demand for welders has increased dramatically because of construction in the commercial industry,” said Warren Lynch, welding instructor at Edgecombe Community College. “A lot of building is going on in the area, and the jobs are available.”

The welding industry is expected to gain 22,500 new jobs by 2026, or 6 percent of the total welding workforce in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In North Carolina, experts predict about a 10 percent growth in the welding industry.

Lynch says projects such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the new CSX terminal in Rocky Mount are spurring the growth in North Carolina and locally. He adds that plant expansions and retiring older welders also are a driving force in the increased demand for welders.

“The jobs are out there, but we need more students,” said George Anderson, the college’s director of customized training.

At ECC, students can earn certifications in TIG welding, MIG welding, pipe welding and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW or Stick).

Lynch is developing relationships with area industries that are looking for welders so he can customize his classroom instruction. At present, the college is working with Nash Building Systems in Tarboro to meet the company’s specific welding needs.

“There are a lot of places that need welders,” he said. “Once students complete the program, I’ve got people waiting to hire them right now.”

The average hourly salary for welders in North Carolina is $17, but some can earn up to $35 an hour, depending on training and experience, according to experts.

Anderson says welding graduates who are certified are highly preferred by employers. Edgecombe Community College goes a step beyond training and provides an opportunity for students to earn certifications.

“Testing for certification takes place at the end of the class,” he said. “Certifications validate the graduate’s skill level. If you have a recognized credential, it tells the employer not only that you are qualified, but also that you are committed to the profession.”

An evening welding class begins at ECC on Jan. 22 and meets from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A Saturday class begins Jan. 26 and meets from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Both classes will be held on the Tarboro campus.

To learn more, please contact George Anderson at andersong@edgecombe.edu or 252-823-5166, ext. 197.

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