Airgas Announces Expansion of High School Welding Education Initiative

RADNOR, PA — Airgas, an Air Liquide company and a leading U.S. supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, safety and welding products, announces the expansion of its High School Welding Education Initiative to 23 new schools and 6 returning schools.

These programs were selected from a large number of excellent nominations based on four key factors: high unmet need at the school; a productive welding program with the potential to graduate job-ready welders; passionate teachers; and enthusiastic Airgas local champions.

2021 Participating Schools

A. Philip Randolph Technical High School

Philadelphia, PA

Anniston High School

Anniston, AL

Arlington Public Schools

Arlington, NE

Barbara Jordan High School

Houston, TX

Bay Arenac ISD Career Center

Bay City, MI

Beloit Memorial High

Beloit, WI

Dallas Veterans Affairs Center

Dallas, TX

Delta Junction High School

Fairbanks, AK

Dos Palos High School

Dos Palos, CA

Euclid High School

Euclid, OH

Fairfield High School

Fairfield, IA

Father Judge High School

Philadelphia, PA

Fillmore High School

Fillmore, CA

Gateway High School

Huntington, MA

George Stevens Academy

Blue Hill, ME

Hampton-Dumont High School

Hampton, IA

Indian Trail High School Academy

Kenosha, WI

Kelly Walsh High School

Casper, WY

Medford Vocational Technical High School

Medford, MA

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence, RI

Region Two School of Applied Technology

Houlton, ME

Roseville High School

Roseville, MI

Salina Tech High School

Salina, KS

Selma High School

Selma, AL

Soldotna High School

Soldotna, AK

Taconic High School

Pittsfield, MA

Union County Vocational School

Scotch Plains, NJ

Vista High School

Vista, CA

Westosha Central High School

Paddock Lake, WI

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Participating schools will receive a customized mix of hands-on professional development training or continuing education for welding teachers, welding consumables or equipment, safety PPE – such as RADNOR® welding and safety products – and other resources. The program also builds long-term relationships with local education leaders and Airgas welding and safety experts. As more schools participate in this program, Airgas is fielding increased interest and support from customers, suppliers, government officials, and Air Liquide colleagues, stemming from shared interest in boosting career opportunities and cultivating the next generation of welders.

The U.S. will need over 375,000 welding professionals by 2023 to fill job openings, according to recent projections accounting for economic growth, a retiring workforce, career advancement of the workforce, and technological advancements (Emsi, March 2020). With many high schools and junior colleges under-resourced throughout the United States, it is difficult to close the gap.

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Over the past three years, Airgas has built on the success of a pilot program in Philadelphia and expanded the Airgas High School Welding Education Initiative to add additional underserved schools to the program. In 2020, 65 Airgas associates from 10 regions provided socially distant support to more than 1,000 welding students, 152 teachers and 29 schools and donated welding machines, consumables and PPE.

Andy Cichocki, Airgas Chief Operating Officer, commented: “As professionals in the metal fabrication industry, many of us know first-hand the importance of providing students with early exposure to emerging welding opportunities. We must continue to support our local communities and to find opportunities to enlist future generations of talented welders.”

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