American Welding Society ...

Welder Workforce Development Grants

What Assistance is Available?
AWS Foundation has available welder workforce development funds as a result of gifts from generous donors with the motivation to immediately impact and increase the welder workforce. A portion of these funds are used to address the critical need to recruit and train entry level welders for the workforce, and assist the specific welder needs of welding businesses. The focus of this program is to recruit and train entry level welders or to provide welders with specific specialized training to assist welder workforce needs for a specific company. This program will require a joint application through a partnership between a company and an education and training institution.

Summary of 2011 Workforce Development Grant Awards
The AWS Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2011 workforce development grants.  The Foundation is awarding a total of $79,704 to the five projects below, with participating companies contributing an additional $31,000.

Fulton County Area Technical Vocational School and Mellott Company, Pennsylvania
This project will provide welding skill upgrade training to ten Mellott Company employees who will complete AWS certifications.  Additionally, three welding students will be selected and will receive welding training, complete AWS certifications and be hired by Mellott Company upon successful completion of the program. 

Pittsburgh Public Schools and American Bridge Company, Boilermakers Local 154, Local 66 International Union of Operating Engineers, and Safety Guard Steel Fabricating Company, Pennsylvania
This project will provide critical welding training as outlined by the industry partners to ten high school seniors during the summer following graduation.  Each of the industry partners has committed career opportunities for the students upon successful completion of the program. 

Regional Technical Education Center (RTEC) and Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc., South Dakota
This project will recruit, train, and AWS certify ten new welders.  The school and company will work together to recruit and select the individuals who will participate in this program.  Participants will be pre-tested and upon successful completion, will be issued a certificate of completion as well as employment by Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc. 

Henderson Community College and Pittsburg Tank & Tower Co., Ohio Valley Marine Services, Inc., and Alliance Coal, LLC, Kentucky
This project will provide training to 34 employee participants committed by the partnering companies.  The employees will participate in a 15-week program consisting of 30 contact hours of lecture and 90 contact hours of lab-based welding instruction. 

Vermeer Corporation, Iowa
As a result of this project, Vermeer Corporation will hire and train 55 new employees in a three-week welding training program.   The training received by the new employees includes the following topics:
Lean manufacturing, safety, blueprint reading, machine settings, gun angles, machine maintenance, grinding and sanding, cutting torch, plasma cutting, virtual reality welding, in-depth welding techniques. 

Criteria for Participating Companies and Partnering Education Institutions

With this process to allocate funding, we require companies who have a demonstrated need for welders to partner with an education/training institution.

  • Small-to-medium size companies (less than 500 employees)
  • Large size companies (more than 500 employees) must demonstrate a 40% level of matching in financial support
  • Must have training needs due to business growth, retirement, or retraining of an existing workforce on new joining or cutting technology
  • Must demonstrate good housekeeping and safety history.  OSHA reports will be reviewed and site visits to the company by AWS Foundation selection committee representatives may be required
  • Must commit to hiring 100 percent of the graduates of the educational institution’s program, pending economic conditions
Education & Training Institutions:
  • High schools
  • Trade schools
  • Community colleges
  • Industry partners who have internal training facilities
  • Union training centers
  • Must commit to offering the program as defined by the company
  • All education/training curricula must be based on the participating company’s needs

Overview of the Application Process
The company and the educational institution partner will submit a joint application to the AWS Foundation which will include specific activities that will be implemented to address the company's workforce needs.

The applications will be reviewed by an AWS oversight committee and selected based on the following:
  1. What the funding will be used for, including expected outcomes and measures of success
  2. How the outcomes will be achieved; what strategies will be implemented
  3. The application's relevance to the AWS Foundation’s areas of interest

Preference will be given to applications with the biggest impact in reducing welder workforce shortages.

Although matching funds are not required for small to medium sized organizations, company support is encouraged. Large-sized organizations (500 or more employees) must demonstrate a 40% level of matching financial support in order to be considered for an award.

Funds may be used for:
  • tuition for training, which may include certifications
  • student textbooks and/or related classroom materials
Funds cannot be used for:
  • facilities improvements
  • capital items
  • computers, computer-based training systems
  • equipment purchases or upgrades
  • travel expenses
  • funding will not be available for start-up companies

Measures of Success
AWS will audit the success of the project throughout the year of funding, at intervals determined by AWS.  A summary of progress-to-date with specific, detailed information will be required.  Projects will be measured against the original proposal/application submitted.  A final report including project summary, numbers of individuals trained, results from the project, and a final, itemized budget, will be required.  AWS at its discretion may audit student competency against program goals.