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Fears of Automation Deter Youngsters from Pursuing Welding Careers?

Dennis Daugaard wasn’t the only person crying for more welders. The National Science Board says we’re going to need 3.4 million more technical workers, including welders, tool and die makers, electricians, and programmers, by 2022. NSB’s report footnotes that in 2017, the median earnings of technical workers was $45,000, $16,000 more than the median for workers with no bachelor’s degree.

But if there’s money to be made, why aren’t future participants in the labor market flocking to welding opportunities? Maybe those vo-tech billboards aren’t reaching potential enrollees… or maybe we’re afraid of robots:

Other factors may also be part of the problem. Mary Alice McCarthy, director of the Center on Education and Skills at New America, said that while these technical jobs can be highly paid, parents might be worried these jobs won’t be around for very long. “Part of that concern around enrolling in these kinds of programs or having your children enroll in them is the rapid pace of automation,” she said. “It is important to be thinking about what comes next for these students and these workers” [Lilah Burke, “A Push for More Technical Workers,” Inside Higher Ed, 2019.09.10].

Maybe robots can weld everything, but what isn’t subject to automation? I’d encourage youth to take up blogging, but there’s no money here… and robots are catching up in journalism, too.


  1. Porter Lansing 2019-09-14 10:21

    Cory gave us ample time to proof read and I still get a big, red checkmark on my post.
    *Please change orientated to oriented. Miss Dahl at USD wouldn’t be pleased.

  2. Debbo 2019-09-14 16:26

    Creative and artistic welding, one off welding, prototype welding, repair welding……. Those should be robot proof, but probably not as many jobs or as steady.

  3. cibvet 2019-09-14 16:39

    Most welding is not done in an environmentally controlled room and it is hard, dirty work.Need I say more?

  4. jerry 2019-09-14 20:47

    Count how many teeth a seasoned welder has, then you get the idea that welding is okay if you just do it once in a while and slobber is not an issue. I can buy a used automated 2014 Miller Perform Art robotic welder for $104,000.00 on Ebay. It would not take to long to pay for itself considering how much I would have to pay for a human welder. I don’t blame the young folks for not wanting to invest the effort in a job that might be gone in 10 years…along with the pension that went with it.

  5. T 2019-09-14 22:11

    Curiosity stream has a series on robotics.
    Maybe not tomorrow but very soon. Honda close to production.
    Worth a watch

  6. mike from iowa 2019-09-15 09:09

    Youngest son welded hydraulic cylinders in an unventilated room that OSHA would have shut down immediately under Dems. After a few years he was spitting blood from his lungs and at age 37 was told to cease welding immediately because his lungs are shot. He was licensed to weld on bridges in iowa, Northern Mississippi and Minnesota in addition to driving semi and hauling bridge building equip and machinery.

  7. grudznick 2019-09-15 20:47

    Do you know who is the best welder in the Great State of South Dakota? Besides grudznick?

    It is Mr. Rhoden, the rock-ribbed Republican Lt. Governor of South Dakota. That fellow has steel wool for chest hair.

  8. leslie 2019-09-17 14:53

    the more welders, the more republican voters dumb enough to elect Daugaard and rounds and thune and noem. no offense to welders. some of those WWII ex-marines were my favorite people/welders.

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