Eastern Iowa Community Colleges has teamed up with the American Welding Society – Eastern Iowa Section to host its first welding showcase and competition.

The event will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 18 at the Blong Technology Center, 8500 Hillandale Road, Davenport, with awards beginning around 1 p.m. Parents, teachers, and anyone interested in this career field are encouraged to attend and witness the action, as well as tour the facility and interact with local businesses.

More than 50 college and high school students will be competing in three categories, including shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding or MIG, and tungsten inert gas welding or TIG.

The winner of each category will receive a scholarship from the American Welding Society. In addition, prizes such as welding equipment will be given out thanks to the generosity of local sponsors SSAB, Jackson and Lincoln Electric.

“Eastern Iowa Community Colleges is so excited to host the first area welding competition,” said Matt Schmit, EICC’s Dean of Applied Programs and Distant Campuses. “When we first pitched this idea, we were pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming amount of interest and support from both local high schools and area companies. We hope to make this an annual event.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $47,010 in May 2021 and employment is expected to grow eight percent from 2020 -2030.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ welding program includes certificate, diploma, or degree options in a range of industrial welding techniques including ARC, MIG, TIG, core wire, and gas. The certificate programs focus on production welding, basic welding, and structural welding. The college’s hands-on labs give students real-world experience under the guidance of instructors who’ve worked in the field. Courses are offered in an eight-week format with a flexible schedule of attendance during the day or evening.

For more information, call toll-free 1-888-336-3907 or email eiccinfo@eicc.edu