Making the Most of National Welding Month

By Eddie Guerra

With so much going on across the globe and right here at home, it’s hard to believe that we’re already one-fourth of the way through 2017. Despite this and the April 15th tax deadline, the second quarter of the year is always a special time. That’s because April is National Welding Month! National Welding Month is all about putting the focus on our industry, taking steps to move it forward, and inspiring the next generation of welders. There are lots of ways you can personally get involved, but if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a trio of tips you can use to celebrate welding all month long!

1. Be a Mentor

There are many resources available to those just getting started in the industry, but none is as valuable as the guidance and wisdom imparted by someone who has been there and done that. This month is a great time to reach out to a welding student or newcomer at your company and take an active role in their development. There’s nothing like taking a fresh-faced novice under your wing and showing them the ropes. Go ahead, show them your special technique for especially tough jobs. Let them know you’re always up for talking shop and answering questions. Support them when things don’t go right and challenge them to get better and learn new things. As Hall of Fame NBA center, and all around excellent human being, Dikembe Mutumbo once said, “When you take the elevator to the top, please remember to send it back down so someone else might use it.”

2. Promote the Value of Skilled Trades

Despite the fact that welding is used to create everything from medical devices to cars, most people simply aren’t aware of the role it plays in their lives. As such, educational options and careers that focus on working with your hands are often stigmatized and dismissed out of hand. Make a point of changing attitudes by talking to peers from other walks of life about the importance of skilled trades like welding. The next generation is key, so consider taking part in career day at a local school.

3. Set the Example

If you want to truly impact and promote the industry in a substantive way, you may have to set an example for others to follow. The best ways to do this involve being generous with two of our most valuable assets: time and money. Do you know of a local apprenticeship program that could use some help? Make a commitment to help out. If none exist in your area, consider starting one!! Do the kids in your neighborhood need a constructive way to spend their weekends? Sign them up for the Scouts and help them get a merit badge in welding. Do you feel like there isn’t enough support for welding education at the national level? Consider making a financial contribution to a local vocational school or scholarship foundation. Better yet, get in touch with your elected officials and chime in on how our resources should be allocated.

Remember, at its core, National Welding Month is about promoting and celebrating welding and other skilled trades. This is a time to make a positive impact on the industry and have fun doing it! If you want more ideas about how make the most of National Welding Month, check out the “Making National Welding Month Count” feature in the current issue of the Welding Journal, free with your AWS membership. For videos, presentations, marketing material, key messaging, and tips on how you can make an impact in your area check out the AWS National Welding Month toolkit.