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As the nation emerges from the global recession of the past two years, welding technologies and personnel will play a crucial role in keeping the economy on track, according to Ray Shook, executive director of the American Welding Society. Shook offers his outlook for the welding industry in “Five Welding Growth Areas,” an article appearing in the Winter 2011 issue of Welding & Gases Today, the leading magazine for the gases and welding equipment industry.

While 2011 presents some economic challenges to North American industry, the future is bright for those involved in welding occupations. “The need for welding technology is growing in many fields, and opportunities abound for those with the needed skill sets,” says Shook. An aging highway infrastructure and agricultural growth are two areas of growth for welding technologies and personnel.

Another major growth area for welding is energy production. “A growing population coupled with the highest per capita energy use in the world will drive refurbishment and expansion of our nationwide energy grid of fossil-fueled and nuclear power plants,” says AWS’ Shook. “Increasing reliance on green technologies for energy production will ramp up production of wind power farms, solar energy systems and other natural energy sources.”

In addition to the opportunities for welding technology growth, the shortage of welders continues to be a challenge facing the industry. Shook cites a recent report released by the National Center for Welding Education and Training (Weld-Ed) in cooperation with AWS, which predicts a need for nearly 240,000 new and replacement welding professionals between 2009 and 2019.

For Shook’s complete welding industry forecast for 2011, read “Five Welding Growth Areas” (http://www.weldingandgasestoday.org/index.php/2011/01/fi ...) at Welding & Gases Today online. For more information, contact Devin O’Toole, contributing editor at Welding & Gases Today at devin@weldingandgasestoday.org or 315-445-2347.

Founded in 1945, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its member journals (www.weldingandgasestoday.org), e-magazines, newsletters and industry wiki (www.gawdawiki.org), GAWDA connects suppliers of gases and manufacturers of related equipment as well as manufacturers of welding equipment and distribution leaders, for the purpose of safely delivering optimal solutions to the users of those products. GAWDA publications are the industry’s voice for all matters related to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning welding equipment and products and services related to industrial, medical, specialty and cryogenic gases. A 501(c)3 organization, GAWDA members are located throughout North America.

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