Airgas Expands High School Welding Education Initiative - Modern Distribution Management

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Airgas Expands High School Welding Education Initiative

Airgas said the program builds long-term relationships with local education leaders and Airgas welding and safety experts.
The company said it will open the new center in Henderson to serve customers and retail branches in Western U.S. states.

Airgas Inc., Radnor, PA, an Air Liquide company and supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, announced Thursday that it was expanding its Airgas High School Welding Education Initiative to 23 new schools and six returning schools.

Airgas said the high schools were picked from nominations based on four key factors: high unmet need at the school; a productive welding program with the potential to graduate job-ready welders; passionate teachers; and “enthusiastic Airgas local champions.” (Go here for a complete list of the high schools.)

Participating schools will receive a customized mix of hands-on professional development training or continuing education for welding teachers, welding consumables or equipment, safety personal protective equipment (PPE), and other resources. Airgas said the program also builds long-term relationships with local education leaders and Airgas welding and safety experts.

As more schools participate in this program, Airgas said there’s increased interest and support from customers, suppliers, government officials, and Air Liquide colleagues.

The U.S. will need over 375,000 welding professionals by 2023 to fill job openings, according to recent projections accounting for economic growth, a retiring workforce, career advancement of the workforce, and technological advancements.

Over the past three years, Airgas has built on the success of a pilot program in Philadelphia and expanded the Airgas High School Welding Education Initiative to add additional underserved schools to the program. Last year, 65 Airgas associates from 10 regions provided socially distant support to more than 1,000 welding students, 152 teachers and 29 schools along with donating welding machines, consumables and PPE.

“As professionals in the metal fabrication industry, many of us know first-hand the importance of providing students with early exposure to emerging welding opportunities,” said Airgas COO Andy Cichocki. “We must continue to support our local communities and to find opportunities to enlist future generations of talented welders.”

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