Ask anyone and you will get the same exact answer: education is expensive. In order to have a career that is fulfilling and will allow you to be able to support yourself and a family you have to have some kind of training. And while it is possible for welders to learn the trade without having to go to school through a program such as an apprenticeship, most welders do attend a school.
The American Welding Society understands that education can be expensive, and while a trade such as welding does not cost as much for training as a degree in medicine, the cost is still prohibitive for many. Federal financial aid will only go so far in many cases, or students may not be eligible. For example, a student who already holds a bachelor's degree is not eligible to receive a Pell grant to help with education costs, so someone returning to school to enjoy a new career in welding cannot receive that aid.
The AWS awards scholarships to deserving students each year. The money is to be used to cover the costs of tuition. Two welding students from Aiken Technical College in Georgia have won scholarships to help with their tuition in the next semester. Robert DiBiase was awarded $2,400 and Alex Ware was awarded $3,000.
There were 60 total applicants for the awards in a district that has many student chapters including chapters in Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. In order to win, every student was required to show they have a commitment to the welding industry and to academics and that they have financial need. Each student wrote an essay that explained why they felt they should win the award.
Alex Ware worked as a contract electrician for 25 years and is now training to be a welder. He is known for being a leader in the classroom and his essay was based on that. He also gives credit to his instructor for always encouraging him. Ware is a good example of how a good instructor can inspire students of any age to reach for their goals and how welding is a field open for anyone to enter.
Robert DiBiase plans to graduate next spring. When he graduates, he intends to open a muscle car body shop. Not only will the shop further DiBiase's career, but there is the potential for new jobs to develop and a boost to the economy.
The more welders that can be trained who go on to open their own shops and create jobs, or who are able to enjoy a stable career, the better off everyone is. If you're currently studying welding or considering returning to school, then check out the scholarship program that AWS has available. It may be exactly what you need to help further your studies.