Welding Wars returned to the bays of Central Virginia Community College shop classes after the pandemic forced the annual competition out of the schools. The event puts welders and fabricators in front of local businesses eagerly seeking employees with trade skills. Welding Wars return did not disappoint, as a record number of contestants entered to win prizes and pursue valuable careers.
Developed in 2018 by Cody Hurd and Codie Cyrus, C&C Piping and Fabrication owners, the showcase of skills has grown in popularity thanks to support from CVCC, Virginia Career Works, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, along with dozens of industrial and manufacturing businesses.
This year, more donations and prizes were awarded to students than ever before with some winning welding helmets, gift cards and new tools. There are no losers at Welding Wars; just great exposure for young tradespeople to show off their abilities in front of employers, family and friends. It’s an extremely fun event and one CVCC was excited to re-host.
Welding Wars 2022 featured 25 high school students, eight from the collegiate level and seven professionals. First place honors were awarded to Landon Coffey, of Amherst County High School; Jonah Cunningham, of Amherst County High School; Caitlyn Six from CVCC and Robert Harris from Southern Air. Harris competed in the Welding Wars 2019, with then-fellow Southern Air welder, John Browning, who was crowned champion that year. This marks the third Welding Wars victory for Southern Air’s welders, returning “bragging rights” back where they belong.
Now we can say with remarkable confidence, “Southern Air has the best welders in Central Virginia!”
“Who doesn’t love a flashy competition? It’s important to introduce options in the trades at a young age, so students and parents are aware of the numerous career possibilities in the Central Virginia area that do not require a four-year degree,” says Sierria Phillips, Director of Personnel Development. “It’s very exciting to see passion and drive from local high school post-secondary welding students. You can tell they love working and building with their hands.”
Welding remains a skill in high-demand. There are hundreds of jobs available just in Virginia alone. High school graduates can make more money in their first four years of a welding job than someone coming fresh out of college, and with zero student loan debt. Celebrating trade skills with competitions like Welding Wars continues to illustrate the value of learning trades like these and others.
Southern Air’s Wheels of Learning Apprenticeship program provides hands-on training in electrical, plumbing, heating and air, and sheet-metal. Students have the opportunity to earn a journeyman’s license in their field and are one of the few programs who are certified to allow our students who complete 8000 hours of classroom and on-the-job training to be granted a journeyman’s license without sitting for the test with DPOR.
To learn more, go to Southern-air.com/careers