Vermillion manufacturing job growth drives creation of welding boot camp

The recent addition of Builder's Choice to Vermillion's economy, and new expansion plans for Masaba Mining Equipment have pushed the demand for skilled trade workers to an all-time high.  In order to meet this demand and remain competitive for future industrial economic development projects, the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) created a Welding Boot Camp to introduce basic welding skills to prospective workers seeking careers in manufacturing.

"Our recent growth has not only highlighted the great opportunities in Vermillion and Clay County, but also our shortage of skilled trades people, said Steve Howe, executive director of the VCDC.  "This is a trend in the region and to combat this shortfall, communities need to be proactive."

Representatives of the Vermillion School District, Masaba Mining Equipment, and the VCDC met to devise a rapid study curriculum to help meet immediate need for welders by area employers. 

"This course is intended to provide the basic knowledge of welding processes to make the employee more marketable to companies and reduce the necessary on-the-job training required by the employer," said Howe. "We're finding employers are willing to train, but the hurdle is finding workers who have the core skill set for them to build on, and we think this course will help provide that."

The 35 hour course will begin on Jan. 9, 2012 and focus on the MIG welding process and include education on shop safety, steel cutting methods, shop related math skills, and the various welds needed to be successful in the local workforce.  While geared toward the recent high school graduate seeking the skills to enter the workforce or the adult worker considering a career change, those with a general interest in learning the basics of welding are also welcome to attend. 

The strong demand for welders will allow for immediate employment opportunities upon successful completion of the course, and the VDCD, through its workforce component of the Vermillion Now initiative, will offer tuition reimbursement for students obtaining employment with a Clay County company.

Howe explains, "These skills are needed, and Vermillion Now has provided us with the resources to help. As much as we want to recruit new companies to the area, it is as important, if not more so, to help your current businesses stay healthy and grow."

To register for the class or to receive additional information, contact the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development at 605-624-5571 or

For more information about business development opportunities in Vermillion, please visit or call 605.624.5571.

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