The best part of my 4th of July celebration: My cousin reminded me that a few years ago, at some other family gathering, we’d had a chat about her son. He’s a bright kid but clearly not cut out for a cubicle. He was feeling a little lost. My advice to her (which I don’t remember giving it, but which doesn’t surprise me a bit): Look into careers in welding!

Her son drifted over during our conversation. His mom said, “Laura is the one who told me about careers in welding.”   He said, “I love welding!” I offered, and he accepted, a high five.

He’s now in his third year on the job with a skill that, he noted, he can take anywhere in the country.

Both of his parents are schoolteachers. His grandfather was an accountant turned school administrator. He has aunts and uncles who are attorneys, paralegals, business people. Nobody, in short, who could tell him the facts about careers in welding. Nobody to say that welders are always in demand; that an entry-level welding job can lead to engineering, sales or management; that some highly skilled welders can earn $100,000+ a year.

That’s why I love welding, too. I’m not a welder and never will be, but I encourage careers in welding every chance I get.

I’m glad my cousin’s son got a great job. I’m glad I was able to provide his mom with the facts. And I’m proud that I made a teeny, tiny dent in the perpetual and desperate shortage of welders in Minnesota!

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