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As 2014 comes to a close, AWS would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of This Week in Welding a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 6.



NASA administrator marks completion of world's largest spacecraft welding tool for Space Launch System
PRNewswire
From Sept. 9: NASA's new Vertical Assembly Center, a 170-foot-high marvel of machinery that will be used to assemble elements of the agency's Space Launch System, now is complete and ready to weld parts for the rocket that will send humans to an asteroid and Mars. Media are invited to join NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at the ribbon cutting for the enormous new tool at 11 a.m., Sept. 12, at the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the core stage is being built.
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Labor shortage threatens to bust the shale boom
Bloomberg Businessweek
From April 22: How high is demand for welders to work in the shale boom on the U.S. Gulf Coast? So high that "you can take every citizen in the region of Lake Charles, La., between the ages of 5 and 85 and teach them all how to weld and you’re not going to have enough welders," said Peter Huntsman, chief executive officer of chemical-maker Huntsman Corp. So high that San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, offers a four-hour welding class in the middle of the night. So high that local employers say they're worried there won’t be adequate supply of workers of all kinds.
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For the love of welding
KRBD-FM
From July 29: There are more than 100 people employed at Ketchikan, Alaska’s Vigor Industrial Shipyard. Out of all of them, Catherine “Cat” Wong might have the most unusual story about how she got there. The 25-year-old is a pipe fitter and welder. She was born in the U.S., but grew up with her family in Singapore. When she was 21, Cat made an unusual choice, and ended up in Ketchikan.
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Ohio's C-TEC sees burst of female welders
Newark Advocate
From Nov. 18: There's something funky about this year's crop of welding students at the Career and Technology Centers of Licking County, Ohio — it's full of girls. There's usually one, sometimes two females in the traditionally male classes, but this year, there are five female welding students at C-TEC: Senior Samantha Heistand and juniors Cheyenne Hillyer, Caitlyn Mahan, Savanna Hunt and Abigail Hayes.
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Rethinking vocational high school as a path to college
American RadioWorks via Marketplace
For Oct. 28: For years, vocational high schools have been seen as a lesser form of schooling — tracking some kids off to work while others were encouraged to go on to college and pursue higher income professions. But things are changing. Vocational high schools are focusing much more on preparing students for higher education.
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Biden announces $450 million in federal job-training grants
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
From Sept. 30: Vice President Joe Biden announced almost a half-billion dollars of grants Sept. 29 to community colleges working with employers on job training. Linking training to industry demand is key to the Obama administration's strategy for improving wages and reducing unemployment. Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts and Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley Technical College received the largest grants of about $20 million each.
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Brothers weld last part of Portland, Oregon, rail line
The Oregonian
From Nov. 25: After fusing 2,549 seams along about 30 miles of rail between Portland and Milwaukie, Oregon, brothers Arnulfo and Octavio Zavala on Nov. 18 connected the final section of TriMet's MAX Orange Line. "Welding. Grinding. Welding some more. Connecting rails. Building switches," said Octavio Zavala, 50, as a cloud of steam from a molten, orange-and-white weld swallowed him. "We've been doing this for two years."
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Need for welders prompts call for students in Effingham, Illinois
Effingham Daily News
From Oct. 21: As businesses struggle to fill welding positions, Effingham, Illinois, is giving interested adults an opportunity to learn those skills locally. There's just one problem — not enough people are signing up for the course.
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Study finds fracking could revive manufacturing
The Washington Examiner
From Aug. 12: As many as 1 million new manufacturing jobs could be created in the U.S. by 2025 thanks to the abundance of natural gas now available because of advances in fracking technology. That's according to "Shale Gas: A Game Changer for U.S. Manufacturing," a study released late last month by the University of Michigan.
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Good news: It's possible to weld wood with friction
Geek.com
From Jan. 7: When you're trying to fasten two things together, you're basically trying to make them behave as though they are one. Nails, screws, glue and other fasteners all exist to combine separate things, but always by keeping them as two entities. Welding, by contrast, actually does make them one — perhaps with a structural weak point at the old junction, but a single object nonetheless. By melting small portions of the metal together, welding can create air- and water-tight seals, and extremely strong connections. But one downside is that it can only be done with certain types of materials — or so we thought.
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In South Carolina, a program that makes apprenticeships work
NPR via MPBN News
From Nov. 11: Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina. "We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.
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Skill isn't bound by gender
WALB-TV
From Oct. 14: A non-traditional career training program is helping South Georgia women succeed in jobs traditionally dominated by men. Students at Bainbridge State College are proving that gender has nothing to do with skill. Who says women can't weld? Amber Felver has definitely proven the doubters wrong. But she admits she wasn't always this confident in a classroom full of men.
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