Gretchen Salois Portrait

From the Editor

Fresh start

t’s a new year and the fact that 2020 wasn’t a hallmark time for so many people isn’t lost on anyone. New beginnings prompt us to think of possible resolutions or plans for the upcoming months. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can lay all the groundwork for plans that are ultimately at the mercy of circumstances we can’t predict or control.

We can, however, reflect upon what we have learned and make informed decisions about how to approach the future, no matter the unknown. Although the economy has faltered and millions are out of work, the fabrication sector is a welcome bright spot. Countless fab shops are adapting to shifting demand, as drops and surges in the marketplace continue to be felt—and likely will be well into the new year.

Although millions are out of work, the fabrication sector is a welcome bright spot.

Many companies in the metal fabrication sector remain operational, deemed essential businesses. At FFJournal, our team continues to share the stories of fabricators that are struggling, overcoming and persevering, despite a difficult set of circumstances.

We start off 2021 highlighting efforts to engage veterans in search of a career after leaving active military duty. The classifieds section of the newspaper is no longer the most accessible resource for job hunters. Organizations are expanding their reach and spreading the word to alert both active military and veterans of the opportunities available to them when they transition to civilian life.

It is possible to take courses while serving in the military. Organizations like SMART workers or United Association VIP encourage service members to take accelerated courses that lead to apprenticeships available throughout the country. Service members can earn while they learn instead of accruing crippling student loan debt.

Veterans can use their G.I. bills to sign up for welding courses—the trick is figuring out which program fits best. Jason Becker, who served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, hosts the Arc Junkies Podcast, which connects the welding community. Welders regularly discuss techniques, jobs and educational opportunities, as well as problem solving and tips.

Hire Heroes connects service members, veterans and military spouses with industry opportunities, offering virtual fairs or online job boards. Instructional programs and companies can inquire about how to become involved by reaching out to Hire Heroes directly.

The interest is there. This month, we’d like to spread the word to both job seekers looking for work and fabricators looking for talent, and highlight the unique skill sets of service members that fit in perfectly with a career as a fabricator.