Growing the Future Workforce

Workforce Development

Every day across America, skilled welding professionals are fundamental to building the ships that transport our goods and defend our nation, the infrastructure for our bridges and dams, the missile silos we depend on to protect us, the cars we drive and so much more. In fact according to the American Welding Society, 50% of US products require welding. As many of the these skilled artisans reach retirement age and fewer people enter the industry to replace them, the American Welding Society projects a shortage of over 200,000 skilled welding professionals by 2020.

This is the need Vigor is working to address in its companywide workforce development initiatives. The company’s efforts began in 2008 in Portland, Oregon when Vigor partnered with Portland Community College to open a training center at Vigor’s Swan Island facility. The goal was to create a pipeline of workers with the right welding skills for shipyard work. Vigor provides the space, tools and other support while the college administers the courses and admissions.

In 2012 Vigor began planning for the Harbor Island Training Center (HITC) in Seattle, Washington in partnership with South Seattle College. HITC has built on the lessons learned in Portland and is a model program for training a new generation of workers and continually improving the skills of current workers. It is a six month welding-intensive training program designed with industry input to prepare graduates for immediate employment. The six month model also contributes to higher rates of student completion.

Vigor and its partners continue to learn valuable lessons which are now being applied across Training Centers and at our shipyard in Ketchikan, Alaska.

In addition to our training centers and on-the-job training, Vigor also works with trade union partners, industrial development agencies and others in our other communities to provide skilled training for people diverse in gender, race, age, and work history. Come join us and be a part of something amazing!

We employ both journey and apprentice-level workers on projects. And we're always looking for new, innovative ways to provide training, and development in all our communities in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Watch the video below to learn a little more about our partnership with PCC.