Taking work training on the road

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The welding industry is seeing a critical shortage and its estimated to see a shortage of about 400,000 welders by 2024, according to the American Welding Society.

Related Story: Welder Shortage in the U.S.….Where Have All The Welders Gone?

Soon there will be a classroom on wheels as a new mobile welding unit coming to Northwood Technical College that will help provide training to people that live in rural areas.

Through grants and local donations that were handled out Thursday at Northwood Technical College.

"We’ll be able to take it on the road and to the students. Whether that is correctional facilities, it might be tribal partners, it might be business and industry partners. We will be able to bring mobile welding training to students and our business partners to advise any of the welding skills that they need to obtain," says Karen Holglund, The Dean of Academic Programs at Northwood Tech.

There will be eight welding booths within the trailer that can be used at any given time. Northwood’s hopes to have the mobile unit up and running by October.

Hoglund expresses the need for this new mobile unit will be able to provide skills for students that may have transportation barriers.
“We have the largest geographical distances between our campuses location. So it is needed to bring that training to them because it is sometimes a long drive to get students to train, and this is an effort to help reduce the logistical issues that we have of our students trying to get to the campuses."

Cenovus Superior Refinery General Manager Chris Fortenberry talks about how impactful this will for the Northland. “Making sure we get more qualified people locally to help us. Here at Superior Refinery, we have a lot of travelers coming in right now to support us because we just do not have a lot of local welders to be able to support the operation."

Fortenberry says, “Cenovus Superior Refinery will continue to build, grow and do the best they can to thrive in this and be a long-term partner with the community.”

Hopefully, this new initiative will be able to fill those gaps in the welding industry. "This provides an opportunity for students now and in the future to obtain the training that is needed, to fill those much-needed shortages that we are experiencing right now," said Hoglund.