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Front Page - Friday, May 10, 2019

Chattanooga State, BASF, aim to attract students to welding

The welding trade faces a shortage of more than 450,000 skilled workers by 2022, according to the American Welding Society. - Photograph provided

Chattanooga State and BASF are drawing attention to the nationwide need for skilled welding professionals during National Welding Month, as well as how the trade supports the infrastructure of manufacturing and the national economy.

“At BASF, welding is a vital part of piping and steel fabrication for our manufacturing facilities,” says Robert Gagliano, site director in Chattanooga. “We depend on welders to assemble the world we live in. They are an essential part of our everyday life in the chemical industry.”

According to the American Welding Society, the trade faces a shortage of more than 450,000 skilled workers by 2022. BASF and other employers aim to attract students to the welding trade through education and involvement with STEM programs that offer insight into career opportunities.

BASF and Chattanooga State are partnering to launch BASF’s TECH Academy for local high school students. The weeklong summer program includes field trips to learn about potential careers in welding and other technical fields, speaking to professionals about their careers and exploring manufacturing technology through hands-on activities.

BASF’s TECH Academy is offered free of charge to rising high school juniors and seniors from Brainerd High, Central High, Hixson High, The Howard School, Polytech Academy, Red Bank High and Tyner Academy.

BASF employee Troy Helton started his welding training in high school and now holds a welding code certification through American Society of Mechanical Engineers Section IX. Today, Helton applies his welding expertise at the BASF plant on Polymer Drive.

Adults interested in pursuing a career in welding are encouraged to enroll in the welding technology program at Chattanooga State. The community college offers courses covering a range of technologies that prepare students to attain industry certificates and careers.

More information: www.chattanoogastate.edu/welding-technology and bit.ly/ChattanoogaTECHAcademy

Source: Chattanooga State and BASF