Volunteer welding is a relatively new industry in San Francisco, but it’s getting bigger, and its expanding rapidly.
In the first quarter of 2016, the number of volunteer welders in San José County jumped from 2,717 to 3,971, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
That’s up from 1,907 in the first half of last year.
That means that in the past 12 months, the county has added more welders than it lost, a whopping 8,738 to 5,958, according a Mercury News analysis.
“It’s the fastest growth in the state of California in the last three years,” said Mark Reusse, senior manager of staffing at San Jose-based Welding for America.
“The amount of welders is on the rise.
It’s a fantastic job that we’re seeing the demand for.”
The demand is coming from the state’s largest city, where Welding For America says it has trained nearly 7,000 welders since its inception in the city in 2007.
And with that influx, San Jose is now the nation’s third-largest welding market, with nearly 10,000 jobs available in 2016.
“Welding in San Diego County has exploded, and the demand is increasing exponentially,” said San Jose City Councilman Carlos Huerta.
“We have hundreds of welder positions available, and it’s a huge growth opportunity.”
Reusse said the number and growth rate are also on the increase for other states and countries, including Japan, which is looking to ramp up its hiring for welders.
But San Jose has already added more than 40,000 people to its workforce, according the Mercury News, and will continue to grow.
The city’s hiring, Reussel said, is driven by the county’s need for skilled welders, and especially by the need for those people to be welders who are prepared to work in dangerous environments.
“When you have a fire, and you’re trying to get firefighters out, that’s a very dangerous situation,” Reushe said.
“If you don’t have that experience, you’re going to be a liability.”
In the past year, WeldingForAmerica has also worked with several local fire departments to hire and train new firefighters, and they’ve all said they are finding the work to be extremely rewarding.
“They are amazing,” said Firefighter John DeLaurentis, who is a part of a group of San Jose firefighters who have been training in the WeldingWorks program for the past three months.
“It’s been awesome.
It gives you the skills you need to do a fire fight.
It helps you get out of a pinch when you need help.
It just helps you be prepared.”
Reusesse said that San Jose’s welding program has also had a huge impact on the county, and that it has created more jobs than it has lost.
“This is a big part of the solution to our unemployment crisis,” Reusesse explained.
“And it’s helped the city out in the long run, too.”
Reusses said that, as more people join the Welders program, the demand and the opportunities for welder jobs will grow even more.
“The number of people who want to get into this industry is exploding,” he said.