Millennium High School gifted $14K for new welding program encouraging trade skills

Welding is a specialized skill that involves bonding materials together through heat that many high schools don't have as an elective.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 11:04 AM MST
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GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The cost of tuition for a four-year degree can put a huge burden on kids and their families, often racking up thousands of dollars in debt and loans. A skilled trade program can come at a fraction of the cost and, often, a direct path to an available job. But many kids don’t know learning a skilled trade is even an option. That’s why the American Welding Society gave a $14,000 grant to Millennium High School.

Welders use cutters and torches to fuse and bond metal pieces to each other, creating critical infrastructure like buildings, bridges and pipelines. The job is considered essential to our economy, the American Welding Society said. The organization said there’s a shortage of qualified welders, in part due to many kids choosing university over trade school.

The welding grant at Millennium will be used to create a new program that students can get involved in at school. It will also buy a new welding machine, plasma cutter, personal protective equipment, and an augmented reality welding system for students to use. Millennium was one of seven schools across the country that got this grant, as all the schools selected currently do not have a welding program.

The American Welding Society says its hope is to inspire a new generation of students to learn that welding is a sustainable, respected and high-earning career.

“There is a significant need. Our projections are about 90,000 openings each year for the next four years,” AWS spokesperson John Douglass said. “So there’s a tremendous need across the country. We need young people to take a look at this career in welding and skilled trades because, honestly, the future of our country depends on it.”

Douglass says students who do well in high school programs will often be offered their first job without needing to attend a secondary trade program after graduating. They can then get more training on the job. For a fabrication welder, which is an entry-level job, the average pay is $40,000, which is comparable to those who attend a university.

Once they gain more skills and training on the job, Douglass says their earning potential really grows.

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