This Week in Welding
Mar. 6, 2012

Skills gap keeps workers from manufacturers, Americans from jobs
Despite more Americans without work in recent years, many fabricators and OEMs have struggled to fill available positions. The problem often is skills-related: The unemployed largely don't possess the specific skills manufacturers need in their workforce. The result is Americans are looking for jobs, manufacturers are searching for employees and neither is able to find what they need easily. The dichotomy, while it has created challenges for many people, has vaulted the need for more U.S. workers with manufacturing skills into the national conversation, with The Associated Press and other media outlets reporting on the situation. "The national attention that manufacturing is starting to get allows someone out there to reconsider our field as desirable," said Rolando Sanchez, director of business development at Miller Electric Mfg. Co., in Appleton, Wis.More

For some US manufacturers, time to head home
Bloomberg Businessweek
Just days before his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama held a meeting at the White House to discuss how to bring outsourced jobs back home. Among the 25 participants was Harry Moser, ex-president of machine-tool firm GF AgieCharmilles, and founder of the Reshoring Initiative, a group of companies and trade associations trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. When asked by the president what costs manufacturers typically ignore when making decisions on where to make products, Moser mentioned the total cost of ownership among the factors. More

Community colleges important in workforce training
The Register-Mail
As the city of Galesburg, Ill., and the Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association, along with Ameren and The Workforce Development Board of Western Illinois began working on a survey of the area's workforce, the value of community colleges in helping ensure there are enough trained workers is becoming more apparent. GREDA President Tom Schmidt, former president of Carl Sandburg College, not surprisingly, is a strong supporter of what schools, such as CSC, can do to address needs that are identified by the survey.More

Aurora Manufacturing reports $24 million in sales, ready for growth
The Oshkosh Northwestern
Metal blasting, industrial painting, welding and fabrication may sound like the stuff of a man's world, but the ladies' touch is unmistakable at Aurora Manufacturing Inc., a women-owned and managed company poised for growth in Berlin, Wis. The company reported $24 million in sales last year and is hoping to exceed that number this year. Aurora Manufacturing employs about a dozen people and is taking applications to fill two or three positions in the near future.More

Obama to unveil $1 billion national manufacturing innovation initiative
Manufacturing & Technology News
Tucked deep — very deep — within the Obama administration's fiscal year 2013 budget submission to Congress is a proposal to create a new $1 billion private-public partnership program aimed at commercializing and manufacturing U.S. developed technologies. The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, modeled after the German Fraunhofer Institutes, would be a joint effort between the departments of Defense and Energy, the National Science Foundation the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology. According to the budget submission, the goal would be to "revitalize U.S. manufacturing, through a network of institutes where researchers, companies and entrepreneurs can come together to develop new manufacturing technologies.More

Maine students get hands-on welding training in Madison
Some high school students in Madison, Maine, are getting a hands on experience. The goal is to spark a future career interest in them. It's not your typical high school classroom. "It comes complete with 8 welding stations, it can do virtually any kind of common welding from wire feed, to arc, to gas to tig welding," said Jonathan Nelson, program manager with Madison Alternative High School. More

Manufacturing activity surges in region for second straight month
The Kansas City Star
Manufacturing in the region surged again in February, according to a survey of purchasing managers in nine states that include Missouri and Kansas. An index based on the survey results rose to 58.4 from 55.9 in January. December's reading had been 50, a neutral point between a growing manufacturing economy and a declining one. The uptick ran counter to a dip in a similar national survey by the Institute for Supply Management. It's index fell to 52.4 in February from 54.1 in January.More

US manufacturing reshoring, investing; still faces challenges
The Green Economy
North American factory activity has increased for the 30th consecutive month and 65 percent are investing in new technology. "These are both very positive signs for expanding growth in the manufacturing sector," said Mitch Free, chief executive of, the world's largest online marketplace for the industry, often called the "eBay of manufacturing."More

Hill college to share $3 million Texas grant to train students
The Hillsboro Reporter
Hill College will share in a $3 million grant for cutting-edge training equipment. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced that 11 community colleges and technical institutes across the state will receive grants to buy equipment to train students in critical workforce skills. The new round of grants comes from Jobs and Education for Texans, a career-training grant program administered by the comptroller's office since 2009. Hill's welding program will receive $282,281 of the funds.More

CS Wind welding jobs go begging
The Windsor Star
Wind turbine tower maker CS Wind, which wants to hire 100 workers this spring at its Windsor, Ontario, plant, is having to look outside Canada's unemployment capital to find enough experienced welders. "The reason we've had to do that is there is a bit of skilled trades shortage with respect to welders — welders with specific experience working with heavy and large fabrications," said Patrick Persichilli, director of production support for CS Wind's Windsor plant.More

Toyota to move more production to US, create new jobs
In case you missed the news from early February, Toyota has announced that they will move production of the company's mid-size Highlander SUV from Japan to the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana facility in Princeton, Indiana. The move will create about 400 new manufacturing jobs. Toyota plans to produce several different export versions of the Highlander at the Indiana facility, and those export markets in include Russia and Australia.More

Harbingers of success: New law eases student access to graduation, credentialing rates
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When high school students think about prospective careers, they usually look at salaries, typical workdays and possible employers. Such things are important, of course. But to realize their dreams, first many must earn a degree or certificate and possibly pass a credentialing exam. Often, their chances of success in those arenas is less well-known when they select a school to prepare them for their careers. Numbers on graduation rates and passage rates on credentialing exams are mostly — though not entirely — accessible, although researching them isn't necessarily easy. A federal law that took effect last summer makes some information easier to access.More

Ohio manufacturing: Good times are back (sort of)
It's boom times once again for Ohio's manufacturing industry. Manufacturing, the largest sector in the Buckeye State's economy, is revving up production and employment after being hit hard by the Great Recession. The health of Ohio's economy will be on the minds of many residents as they head to the polls on Super Tuesday to pick a Republican nominee for president. The future of American manufacturing likely will to play an even bigger role in November's general election, since President Barack Obama has been championing the sector as a vital element of the nation's recovery. The revival in Ohio is being fueled by the return of the American auto industry, the growth of energy production in the U.S. and the skyrocketing demand for steel and other building materials overseas.More

NorthWestern Energy fined $2,000 for welding violation
The Aberdeen American News
South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission has fined NorthWestern Energy $2,000 for a welding violation on a pipeline south of Aberdeen, S.D. The 6.25-mile pipeline runs from a NorthWestern station to an electricity-generating facility under construction and a beef processing plant, according to PUC staff paperwork. The infraction was the result of more than five minutes lapsing between a contracted welder hired by NorthWestern making two passes on a pipeline weld on Oct. 31, according to the documents.More

Low Bicycles: A growing small manufacturing business in San Francisco
The Western Edition
Customizing objects to suit the needs of individuals have been seen throughout modern history. Take a look at the progression of automobiles — SUVs for off-roaders, the Prius for those who are environmentally conscious, and vans for families. With the growing use of bikes as a common form of transportation, there becomes another demand for customization. While big companies like Schwinn makes bikes for the everyday common rider, Andrew Low, 29, of San Francisco, makes bikes for the more aggressive and professional rider. Low specializes in custom aluminum track bike frames. More

Industry Week: 'How the MEP Can Help Manufacturers Innovate and Grow'
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Boosting small and midsize manufacturers' capacity for innovation is the core mission of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. How important is innovation to the success of U.S. manufacturing? It's so important that the National Institute of Technology's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership believes that innovation is a prerequisite for growth — not to mention survival — in today's global economy. Through its staff of more than 1,300 technical experts at 430 locations throughout the United States and Mexico, the MEP focuses on its overarching strategy: Boosting small and midsize manufacturers' capacity for innovation to enable profitable growth.More