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Welding’s Arc Toward Change

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Kapco’s Ramie Melvin, senior director of manufacturing operations, participated in Welding Journal’s May 2022 roundtable about major trends in the welding industry in the post-COVID era.

Here’s a sample of some of Melvin’s insights shared in the article:

What is the state of your company/industry today?

The industry remains strong, and we’ve experienced record sales growth over the last calendar year.

This includes organic growth amongst our existing customers and business from new partners looking to move fast and respond quickly to changing market conditions with a
domestic manufacturer.

That growth has given us the opportunity to reinvest in state-of-the-art equipment and facilities upgrades.

What are the biggest challenges facing the manufacturing industry today?

Our biggest challenges are hiring experienced welders and training and retaining inexperienced new hires.

There aren’t enough young people starting careers in the trades to fill manufacturing positions. Some of this is likely due to a misunderstanding of the trades, but even more so,
priorities in education. Fortunately, it seems this mindset may be starting to shift as more STEM classes are being offered in high schools and even middle schools.

This helps open eyes to the many careers available in manufacturing, including among women. While men have historically dominated skilled trades, the number of women in the industry is increasing. As an example, women make up about 4% of the welding industry (Ref. 1). At Kapco, women make up 25% of our welding team.

Lastly, when you look at how many young adults, especially during the pandemic, have struggled to find jobs, I believe more people may discover that the manufacturing industries pay trade workers quite well.

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