During National Welding Month, Chattanooga State and BASF are drawing attention to the nationwide need for skilled welding professionals and underlining how the trade supports the vital infrastructure of manufacturing and the national economy.
“At BASF, welding is a vital part of piping and steel fabrication for our manufacturing facilities,” said Robert Gagliano, Site Director in Chattanooga. “We depend on welders to assemble the world we live in. They are an essential part of our everyday life in the chemical industry.”
According to the American Welding Society (AWS), the trade faces a shortage of more than 450,000 skilled professionals by 2022, creating a high demand for young talent. BASF and other employers aim to attract students to the welding trade through education and involvement with STEM programs that offer insight into the exciting, highly technical and challenging career opportunities.
BASF and Chattanooga State are partnering to launch BASF’s TECH Academy for local high school students. The week-long summer program includes field trips to learn about potential careers in welding and other technical fields; speak to professionals about their careers and explore manufacturing technology through hands-on activities and experiments. BASF’s TECH Academy is offered free of charge to rising high school juniors and seniors who apply for the program from Brainerd High, Central High, Hixson High, The Howard School, Polytech Academy, Red Bank High and Tyner Academy.
BASF employee Troy Helton exemplifies the success of early learning. He started his welding training in high school and now holds a welding code certification through American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Section IX. Today, Helton applies his welding expertise at the BASF plant on Polymer Drive and has been with the company for 11 years.
Adults who are interested in pursuing a career in welding are encouraged to enroll in the welding technology program at Chattanooga State. The community college offers courses covering a range of technologies that prepare students to attain industry certificates and careers.
“Chattanooga State partners with our region’s companies to meet workforce training needs and we know there is a strong demand for skilled welders,” said Lulu Copeland, Executive Director of Economic and Workforce Development at Chattanooga State. “By raising awareness for the career potential in welding, we connect more students to our program at Chattanooga State and ultimately help area employers succeed.”
BASF Corporation (basf.com), headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 20,000 employees in North America and had sales of $19.7 billion in 2018.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S.
About Chattanooga State
Founded in 1965, Chattanooga State Community College (chattanoogastate.edu) is a comprehensive, public community college in the College System of Tennessee offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs preparing students for associate and associate of applied science degrees, technical and institutional certificates, transfer to four-year institutions, and immediate entrance into the job market. Home to the only fully embedded technical college on a Tennessee community college campus, the College consistently offers a high quality education with an 18:1 student-to-teacher ratio, 98 percent job placement rate, and 98 percent licensure pass rate.
The College serves a six county service area that includes Hamilton, Rhea, Sequatchie, Marion, Bledsoe and Grundy counties, the college also collaborates with businesses and industry to create and deploy customizable workforce training solutions.