American Welding Society Adds $1.1 Million to Scholarship Endowments
Miami, Fla., November 5, 2008 – The American Welding Society (AWS) has added $1.1 million
to the multimillion-dollar portfolio of scholarship endowments of the AWS Foundation. The
funding from the American Welding Society’s cash reserves will enable the AWS Foundation to
dramatically increase its scholarship awards to future welding professionals.
“This major new endowment is specifically targeted to those individuals who are seeking
a career in welding,” said Sam Gentry, executive director of the AWS Foundation. “This will help
meet the urgent need for welding personnel in the American workplace.”
With retirements of welders exceeding new welders coming into the field, there is a
projected shortage of 200,000 welders in the U.S. by 2010. According to Gentry, the average age
of a welder is currently about 54.
Welders are now needed in manufacturing and construction, particularly in major energy
and infrastructure projects across the country. Local AWS District volunteers are going to be the
primary means of distributing the new scholarship money in accordance with local industry
“Volunteer leaders in AWS Districts know the needs and trends of local industry,” said
Gentry, “so they can efficiently distribute scholarships to the best candidates, whether they are
entering a technical school program or a college.”
Since 1989, the AWS Foundation has distributed about $4 million in scholarships for
welding education aimed at careers such as welders, educators, engineers, and researchers. The
foundation also employs a field staff to coordinate the efforts of local companies, government
offices, and schools to help meet workforce needs.
A video distributed by the AWS Foundation features Jay Leno and other television
personalities stressing the need for welders and the benefits of a career in welding.
The American Welding Society (AWS) was founded in 1919 as a multifaceted, nonprofit
organization with a m