ROBINSON, Ill. (WTHI) - Experts say more than a quarter million welders will be needed nationwide in the next two years.
Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois offers a welding program where instructors melt down the basics and students can earn a one year certificate to get them started in a new career.
Jackson Hemlich has been an instructor at the LTC Welding Center for four years and says, "It'll help you get in the door somewhere because you understand what you're doing."
The American Welding Society anticipates the country will need another 290,000 welders by the year 2020.
"It's because all of the people who have actually done the welding are starting to retire and welding is an art. It's not something you can just train anybody to do."
Hemlich says anyone who likes working with their hands could be good at welding.
"To be honest, I was a high school dropout and I went to college and the instructor liked me welding and had me teach underneath him and now I'm here and a lot of the kids in the program are in the same situation and I understand them. I connect with them."
The course is offered during the day and evening. Students earn a certificate for completing the program.
LTC’s program can help lead to careers as a structural, pipe, fabrication, production and tube welder.
Hemrich says starting wages range from fifteen to thirty dollars an hour, depending on the business and type of welding.
LTC is hosting an open house February 16th from 2pm to 4pm local time. Prospective students can meet with LTC welding instructors and students. They’ll also be able to see some of the projects students have completed and tour the Red McCoy Welding Center.
For more information visit the Lincoln Trail College website.