February 2, 2010
For Immediate Release
For additional information:
Barbara Kerr, APR
Testing the Skills of the Next Generation of Welders
On Saturday, Feb. 20, Clark College will welcome students from seven regional high schools as it hosts the 2010 Regional High School VICA/Skills USA Welding Competition
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Manufacturing jobs may have declined, but that hasn’t impacted the outlook for welders. Their numbers are well below the projected workforce that will be needed for infrastructure and energy projects.
Against that backdrop, Clark College and the Clark Student Chapter of the American Welding Society (AWS) will host the next generation of welders as it hosts the Regional VICA/SkillsUSA Regional High School Welding Contest on Saturday, Feb. 20. This will be the 33rd consecutive year that the college has hosted the event, which is free and open to the public.
The competition will be held in Clark’s AA2-101 welding complex. It will begin at 7 a.m. and will finish mid-afternoon.
Located on the southeast corner of Clark’s main campus, the building is on McLoughlin Blvd. between Fort Vancouver Way and E. Reserve Street. Parking will be available in the college’s orange parking lots. Parking maps and driving directions are available at www.clark.edu/maps.
Seven local high schools will be represented in the contest, including Battle Ground, Centralia, Evergreen, Mountain View, Prairie, LaCenter, and Washougal High Schools. Each school will send five contestants as well as their instructor. The top finishers will advance to the state contest in the Tacoma Dome and, possibly, the American Welding Society Expo in Atlanta next November.
According to industry estimates, as many as 200,000 additional welders will be needed by 2014. That is a 40% increase over the current number of welders in the U.S. Officials say that about 25,000 new welders are trained each year, but twice that number leave the trade annual, most by retiring.
Clark College President Robert K. Knight said, “Our Welding Technology program is proud to provide a world-class welding facility for this contest and to welcome these talented students from throughout our region.”
The contest is sponsored by Pro-Tech Industries of Vancouver. Pro-Tech furnishes the contest administrative and judging staff, as well as the welding materials. Prizes for the contest winners, as well as participant gift packages are provided by Dan’s Tractor, Dick’s Tires (Battle Ground), Elite Auto Collision (Battle Ground), Les Schwab Tires (Battle Ground), Liberty Welding Supply, MCK Tools, NAPA Auto Parts (Battle Ground), Priced Right Tools, Pro-Tech Industries, Punk’s Muffler, Shucks Auto Supply (Battle Ground), Vancouver Welding Supply, and Wilco (Battle Ground).