Archives for April 2014

Welders Sought Amid Oil and Gas Boom

The booming oil and gas industry and the resurgence of the manufacturing sector in the U.S. – and especially Texas – have created a high demand for skilled welders. The demand is so critical that a shortage of welders looms, according to this recent Businessweek report. The American Welding Society anticipates a shortage of 216,000 welding professionals by 2020.

The oil and gas and petrochemical areas will gain 1.3 million new jobs by 2030, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Companies in the oil and gas sector seek welders who can work on new pipelines and new facilities that are being built over the next decade, as well as repair and maintenance of oil rigs. The demand for welders also comes on the heels of an aging workforce of welders that is retiring.

If you’re considering a career in the petrochemical industry or even manufacturing, then welding may be the occupation for you. Skilled welders have the opportunity to land relatively high-paying jobs and explore exciting career paths.

Professional Welder - TGCCCC

Welding: A Hi-Tech Skill

Over time, welding has become a high-tech skill because welders can also operate equipment such as robots and sophisticated automated systems that use various methods such as lasers to join metal parts. Welders are trained to use program software for these automated systems.At its core, welding is the method of linking metal parts together using equipment. Through the welding process, the metal parts are exposed to heat, which melts and permanently fuses these pieces together. Welding is the method used to link beams when constructing buildings. It’s used to join pipes in oil refineries and pipelines. More than 50 percent of U.S. products such as computers, cell phones, ships, and farm machinery are created through some form of welding.

Some of the core main tasks that welders perform include:

  • Reviewing blueprints and other pertinent documents
  • Determining the dimensions that need to be welded
  • Using equipment for the welding process
  • Maintaining equipment

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The American Welding Society advises welding novices that some of the basic skills needed include problem-solving, patience, reliability and creativity.

Career Paths in Welding

For the most part, fundamental welding skills are transferrable and can be used in other industries. Welders are sought for a variety of projects ranging from rebuilding bridges to working on oil and gas pipelines. There are a variety of career paths in welding, which may include:

  • Structural iron worker
  • Welding engineer
  • Sheet metal worker
  • Underwater welder
  • Pipefitter
  • Welding Inspector

Source: American Welding Society

A potential shortage of welders could mean exciting career opportunities for you if decide to become a welder. The Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges Consortium offers quality welding training and instruction that includes the latest technologies that will equip students with the welding skills to ensure they have successful careers in the petrochemical industry. Contact your local community college to learn more about welding instruction and future career opportunities.

Using the GI Bill to Attend Community Colleges is a Great Opportunity for Texas Veterans


Most people who serve the United States in the military join one of the Armed Forces branches when they are young – often right out of high school. Besides the honor of serving to protect the country, the military provides on-the-job training that can serve veterans well when looking for employment after their service is complete. However, if they want to go to college for a degree that provides a different career path, they’ll be entering school later than their peers.

That’s why getting an associate degree at a community college can be a very wise decision for veterans. After two years, instead of four, veterans will be able to enter their chosen field. And, with the high pay structures, even for entry-level employees, in the petrochemical industry and healthcare industry, many associate degree holders can earn more to start than bachelor’s degree holders in a liberal arts field.

“Our member companies have a long history of employing and supporting veterans,” said East Harris County Manufacturers Association (an alliance of approximately 130 chemical manufacturers) Executive Director Craig Beskid. “Our members recognize the attributes of our veterans – discipline, leadership and strategic planning. These are valued traits in our industry, and you will find many veterans working for refining and petrochemical companies.”

blogpostimage2The modern GI Bill covers tuition, books, and even some housing costs for veterans who enroll in college. For veterans who choose community college first, if they earn their associate degree in two years, they will still have two years of GI Bill coverage if they choose to transfer to a four-year university. By earning the associate degree first, Texas veterans have the option to start earning $40,000 or more right away in a full-time job or to continue their education.

Most of our TGCCCC member colleges have been recognized by GI Jobs magazine as Veteran Friendly Colleges. Many of our campuses have centers that helps veterans through the registration process, tutoring and other support services — ultimately helping them make the most of their community college experience, and be successful.

The Gulf Coast petrochemical industry needs about 80,000 new employees to fill roles that will come available in the next decade – to build and run facilities. These are highly-skilled trade jobs and craft careers, and many would even be considered “white collar.” Almost all of them also only require an associate degree or certificate, and they all pay well – the average annual salary in the Texas chemical industry is $99,700. In addition, the larger oil and gas industry, as well as the healthcare industry and others are booming throughout Texas.

“Our Bayer MaterialScience chemical manufacturing plant has been particularly keen on tapping into the 1.2 million technically talented veterans expected to leave the military in the next several years,” says Shirlyn Cummings, Bayer MaterialScience’s Talent Management Director for NAFTA Production & Technology.

There has never been a better time to get a degree from a community college. And, if you’re a veteran, you can get it for free. Then you can start your new job on the right foot and on a sustainable, lucrative career track. So, browse through the careers in our Community College Petrochemical Initiative, and then contact your local community college to find out which two-year degree might be right for you.

Main Menu