Recently we’ve discussed whether welding was a job or career. Welders know that this is a career and a way of life. Welders everywhere are committed to giving back. Just a few ways welders are helping the world is by giving back through education, donating time and materials, and through the American Welding Society Foundation.
Welders recognizing the importance of giving back to the community see the value of vocational training. Qualified trades people conduct workshops, sometimes in severely underprivileged or underserved communities. In Nairobi, for example, Jitegemee teaches basic skills, living values, and introduces youth to trades through apprenticeship with a strong focus on jobs that they can go into business for themselves. Young people that were otherwise left on the street to fend for themselves are earning commission, eating hearty meals, and usually become the primary breadwinner in their household.
Donating Time & Materials
Not known as trades people to “toot their own horn”, you can still see many fine examples of time and material donation from welders to those in need. In 2010 Exelon Nuclear’s La Salle County Generating Station donated welding supplies to the welding program at Illinois Valley Community College. The school in Oglesby benefitted from more than 1,100 pounds of stainless steel welding rod. La Salle had changed material preferences and gave excess stock they had on hand. The material was valued at about $25,000.
Individual donations of time are priceless in value. Welders and other trades people often donate time to Habitat for Humanity, Extreme Makeover, disaster relief, and local charities. In March 2011 volunteers headed to New Zealand after a devastating earthquake to restore basic water and wastewater services to residents.
The American Welding Society Foundation was established to “support programs that ensure the growth and development of the welding industry through strengthening research and educational opportunities in welding and related industries.” The AWS non-profit organization helps children get excited about learning welding.
Easy Ways you can Give Back
AWS has teamed up with eBay for easy donation making. Utilizing the Giving Works program, you can now donate all or part of your eBay sales to the AWS Foundation. According to the AWS website, the program allows AWS to be introduced to individuals who wouldn’t otherwise know about the Society or its services. “This is a fun and easy method to help the AWS Foundation support welding education and scholarships,” says Wendy Sue Reeve, AWS Foundation managing director. Visit eBay at http://givingworks.ebay.com/ to become an eBay seller and participate in the Giving Works program. If you are an eBay shopper, please visit eBay vendors displaying the Giving Works icon, a blue and yellow ribbon.
Welding is more than a job, more than a career even. Welders are a special group of people interested in helping the world. They give back in small ways and large. The cumulative total is worth more than the parts. Donations of money or time can educate young people and change their lives, even the lives of their entire family. What have you done to give back?