Andrew Cardin, 22, of Sutton, Mass., was recently awarded a $40,000 scholarship, sponsored by Miller Electric Mfg. Co., for earning the welding spot on the 2015 SkillsUSA World Team. The Miller Electric International WorldSkills Competition Scholarship was awarded through the American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation.
Now in its 22nd year, the scholarship exists to inspire young welders and to support the need for training on an industry-wide basis. The annual SkillsUSA event showcases and promotes the industry through education and intensive competition, like the U.S. Invitational Weld Trials, where students compete to become the SkillsUSA World Team welder and represent the United States at the WorldSkills event.
“I am a SkillsUSA alum myself, so I know the importance of connecting young people to these types of opportunities,” says Tim Temby, group president for Miller. “As a global leader in welding equipment, we want to make sure our industry continues to be healthy and strong. By supporting programs like SkillsUSA, we can actively participate in the development of individuals who can enter the welding workforce ready to work from day one.”
For Cardin, SkillsUSA helped him focus on and develop the areas that interested him in school. He plans to use his $40,000 scholarship to earn an associate degree and then go on to get a bachelor’s degree, likely in education, welding engineering or metallurgy, with the hope of someday becoming a welding instructor.
“Teaching is something that’s really in my DNA. SkillsUSA has broadened my horizons about what I can do with welding — not just be a welder in the field, but also go into training and other aspects of the trade,” Cardin said. “It’s been a life changing experience in every aspect of my life. The opportunities are more than you can possibly imagine.”
The AWS Skills Competition plays a critical role in addressing the gap between education and the welding industry. According to the AWS, the industry will face a shortage of approximately 400,000 welding operators by 2024. Encouraging and rewarding talent and excellence through competitions like SkillsUSA is one way to attract young welding operators to the industry. SkillsUSA relies on support from organizations like Miller to develop leaders and high performing workers.
As the TeamUSA finalist this year, Cardin represented the United States at the WorldSkills event in Brazil in August, where he won a Medal of Excellence and finished fifth among a field of 38 welders.
Tags: 2015 SkillsUSA World Team, American Welding Society, Andrew Cardin, Miller Electric, Miller Electric International WorldSkills Competition Scholarship