YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The President of the American Welding Society (AWS) visited Yuma Thursday, speaking to students about not only welding, but a career in trade.
Mike Krupnicki, President of the American Welding Society, met with students at "Weld Like a Girl" in Yuma.
He said it's up to the students in school now, to fill the gap in the welding industry.
The American Welding Society predicts a deficit of 400,000 welders by 2024.
“In America right now, we need people who can weld. We need to have products welded, that are made in factories, we need bridges built,” said Mike Krupnicki.
Krupnicki said the American Welding Society is desperate to find the next generation of welders.
“I’m not one to throw numbers around, but I will here, 90,000 new welders a year for at least the next five years. That’s a lot and it's going to go way beyond that because we haven’t had any young people coming into the trades in three decades,” said Krupnicki.
While in Yuma, he hopes to inspire local kids to choose a career in the skilled trades.
He said educating them from a young age is a great start.
“Welding, we have to wear helmets so we don’t burn our eyes or nothing. It looks like fire coming out,” said second-grade student, Baylee.
Baylee said she enjoys welding.
“My favorite part is putting the metal together,” said Baylee.
The AWS said investing in education and robust training methods can help recruit more young people into the business.
“I feel like welding is the best thing in the world,” said Baylee.