Every day, third year welding students travel to the Columbia Area Career Center (CACC) to attend class. This year, there has been a change in curriculum to the class, to learn about welding pipe instead of learning to Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) weld. The industry where most welders are needed is the pipe industry of off-shore oil rigs, refineries or pipelines, like a Phillips 66 Pipeline being built near Jefferson City, Missouri.
It went from TIG to pipe (six inch schedule 80 which is 3/8th’s inch thick-ish). Hunter Guerra said, “There is probably a decrease in welder availability for pipe, so they are just cramming a whole bunch of people into pipe rather than teach them both and have us prepared for both,” Guerra said.
Austin Eivins, former Battle student, said, “Pipe is never going to go away, there will always be a need for pipe welders. [I’m] not saying there will not be a need for TIG welders, but as a high school student, being exposed to the most common stuff is important. TIG is a very costly and delicate process. Would it be easier? I honestly do not believe so even now before we touch a torch, we weld pipe,” Eivins said.
Eivins is currently enrolled student at Missouri Welding Institute (MWI) in Nevada, Missouri. To prepare for the industry Eivins said, “I believe you need to seek higher education.” Guerra said, “I think both [TIG and pipe welding] are rather important, but have very different places in the welding industry.”
John Higgins said, “We support our programs here and want to get the word out.” Dr.Russell is the director of the CACC John Higgins is the assistant director of the CACC. Russell said, “Pipe has been part of the course since I’ve started here and the course is very TIG heavy.”
While not being what was told to students is that pipe is new to the 3rd year welding students. Guerra is over at the Career Center with Mr. Bill Irvin for Certified 3 Welding while Eivins is down in Nevada working on getting his AWS (American Welding Society) certifications while only being there for four and a half months MWI provides the welding curriculum in four and a half months.
While welding can be a dirty job, it’s still around and prominent, they are to the point of paying anything to get a good welder to come onto their job and do it correctly.