ROCKFORD(WREX) — Local experts say there is a welding shortage in the Rockford area.
Experts say the problem is not enough people with the proper experience can replace retiring workers.
“It’s not like you can fill the positions of 30 years of experience with someone of two or three years of experience.” said apprentice administrator for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 23 Greg Harley
Greg Harley says one issue contributing to the problem– is not enough time or money being put into educating students about about the industry.
“We got 268 applicants for apprenticeship last year alone. Less than a third of that is from Winnebago County, more is from the outskirts. If we promoted within our community, I think we would all win,” said Harley
Workers also say the lack of SKILLED WELDERS affects other jobs like construction and plumbing.
“There is a need for it and there are a lot of job opportunities,” said apprentice Decolien Williams.
“There is a lot of people retiring and we need younger people to join and keep the trade going,” said apprentice Trent Butler
Workers say if the community tackles the shortage now, it could save the industry from hardships in the future..
“I think there will be more qualified applicants for our employers, there will be a better for each industry for whatever they are going into, as they finish their junior high and high school experience, they will have a better idea of what kind of career they are looking for,” said Harley.
Plumber and Pipefitters Local 23 will be hosting an open house this upcoming November.