Welders filling skilled worker void
BATON ROUGE- The state is helping Baton Rouge Community college fill a void for 80,000 construction workers in the next two years through the college's welding programs.
BRCC has more than 400 students enrolled in its welding programs each year and a growing waiting list.
"I really want to just settle down with my family and this job and these skills will help me provide that for my family," said BRCC welding student Lee Weber.
The school has three programs; entry level, advanced, and dual enrollment for high school students. BRCC is working with the government and local industry leaders to get state and private money to build a new welding facility. The college needs to match $370,000 for the facility. The new building would double the number of students it could take into its programs.
The school is seeing many students change their majors to join the growing industry.
"It's good to know that you'll always have a job, especially if you're good at it, and the more you learn the more likely you are to get a job so it's a reassurance actually," said Ramona Tucker.
Tucker changed her career path from nursing to pipe welding. She says it only took a couple of days to get comfortable with her new choice. She made friends with other girls in the class, who look at it as a type of art.