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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Sunday, January 22, 2006 ::

    Welders make their own sparks fly - By Pete Bach, Appleton Post-Crescent
    In the Fox Valley, Bill Berge, associate dean of manufacturing technologies and apprenticeship at FVTC's Grand Chute campus, said companies are definitely looking for welders.

    "I can think of six companies who are looking (for welders)," he said. "If you can spell welding and you're half decent, they'll hire you."

    FVTC is doing its part to add to the welding ranks. There's a waiting list of 60 candidates for welding and related instruction at FVTC's Grand Chute campus, which has hired one new instructor.

    FVTC isn't the only local group doing what it can to help stem the shortage in welders, which is attributed to both the rebound in manufacturing and a gap in the supply of skilled tradespeople like welders.
    Plumbers & Steamfitters U.A. Local 400 of Kaukauna has ramped up its training program to make sure its welding students have the skills employers want, said training coordinator Wayne Lamers.

    "And it's working. More and more of our people are becoming certified," Lamers said, adding that employers are clamoring for welders trained by the Local.
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