Building Talented Welders for The Modern Workforce

Some have said that welding is the glue of the modern world. Though this method of joining materials through high heat and fusion has been applied for centuries, advancements in welding capabilities have transformed our lives in ways we never imagined.  Over 50% of the gross national product is affected by this critical fabrication process.  Welding-related industries manufacture goods that both sustain us and transport us.  From kitchen appliances to cars and airplanes to building structures, welded assemblies have become the driving force of our economy.

Considered essential workers, welders are needed all over the globe, and the demand for them is constant. No other technique is as widely used by manufacturers to join metals and add value to their products.  In each of our facilities across North America, O’Neal Manufacturing Services employs both manual and robotic welding methods, from lightweight subassemblies to weldments weighing more than 40,000 pounds. As we celebrate National Welding Month in April, we recognize all our employees who take part in this vital manufacturing process. 

While TIG, MIG, arc, laser, projection, resistance, spot, stud, and stick welding take place in varying degrees in each of our welding bays, the OMS team in Monterrey, Mexico has distinguished themselves by creating a welding school on-site.  The program not only supports current welders and encourages new students to learn welding techniques, but it serves as a personnel funnel to meet the ongoing demand for this essential occupation.

Launched in 2005, the OMS Monterrey welding school began as a practice arena for current welders to improve their skills. As the quality demands of customers grew more specific, the program encouraged technical growth, precision, and certifications under AWS standards. Engineer Luis Parás trained under the American Welding Society and certifies welders from within the organization to AWS D1.1 code.  This commitment to continuous improvement set new standards for employee development in Monterrey and beyond.  

In 2022, the school’s instruction was broadened to groom general welding assistants from other areas of the plant.  Safety, polishing, grinding, torch cutting, gauges, and automatic welding machine usage are covered in the program.  25 employees take part each term.  As graduates are assigned to the production lines, new apprentices are onboarded to maintain a continuous cycle of prepared welders.

Monterrey’s welding school has evolved further through a recent partnership with the National College of Professional Technical Education in Mexico (CONALEP).  Through an educational model based on competencies, students acquire relevant job skills and social values that allow them to be competitive in the workplace and pursue post-secondary studies.  As part of the curriculum, participants are assigned internships in the OMS Monterrey plant, which often leads to direct employment with the company after graduation.

“The path of teaching this profession is very meaningful and rewarding while seeing how young people are enjoying becoming welders,” said Juan Rodríguez, Human Resource Manager.  “Being a welder is being attracted by the transformation of steel.  It is a vocation of life that transforms a better world through the products we develop.” 

As the demand for infrastructure and commercial products continues to grow, the OMS team will continue to do its part to meet the ongoing needs of the modern workforce.  We celebrate National Welding Month by recognizing their efforts to educate and maintain a talented pool of welding professionals.