Lynchburg Welding Wars helps fuse gap for skilled workers searching for employment

A dozen employers attended to connect with those searching for job opportunities

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Welding Wars competition in Lynchburg was about more than winning a trophy, it was a way of fusing the gap for skilled workers searching for opportunities.

Friday’s contest at Central Virginia Community College sparked interest from participants, like eleventh grader Ayden Lowe, who said he wants to make it a career.

“Ever since I picked up the first rod, I just loved it,” said Lowe.

With skilled labor in high demand, about a dozen local employers were also on hand to promote their profession and connect with those searching for job opportunities.

“How can I make the most money in the shortest period of time? Right now, that’s trade,” said Codie Cyrus of C&C Piping and Fabrications, one of the companies that participated.

According to Virginia Career Works, manufacturing is one of the largest sectors in the Lynchburg area — with nearly 3,500 welders making up a large portion of it and averaging $21 per hour.

“Obviously everyone is looking for workers right now; but when you have a skill like welding, you are very valuable in the community,” said Tim Saunders of Virginia Career Works.

Saunders said there are plenty of positions to fill and a lot of money to make.

“Think about it this way. Somebody that is coming out of school with a four-year degree isn’t going to make nearly as much money as maybe a welder would in the early years of their career,” Saunders said.

It’s a debt Lowe does not want to face.

“I don’t want the student loans and everything. So, I’m looking to go to a community college or something and get a certificate, then look for a job,” said Lowe.

About the Author

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.

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