State grant to help train 45 welders

Milwaukee contract manufacturer Super Steel LLC has teamed up with Milwaukee Area Technical College and staffing agency Aerotek to attain a grant for training new welders.
The state Workforce Advancement Training Grant will provide $45,000 to MATC to train employees with basic welding experience in a week-long class to prepare them for entry level positions at Super Steel. Wauwatosa staffing agency Aerotek will help find qualified candidates among its clients.
The grant allows for up to 45 welders to receive additional training through a 40-hour, one week course. Candidates for positions at Super Steel who are a good fit for the job and have potential will be referred to the course, said Dirk Smith, chief operating officer.
“Within 40 hours, if you have basic weld skills you can pick up on (American Welding Society D 1.1), which is the entry skill level for us,” Smith said.
The grant provides an opportunity for both the underqualified employee and Super Steel, he said.
“In the past we’ve just turned them away,” Smith said. “Typically there were others waiting in the wings to fill that void, but with the welding industry being as tight as it is you’ve got to get creative.”
Super Steel, founded in 1923, has locations at 7800 W. Tower Ave. in Milwaukee and 7900 W. Calumet in Milwaukee. The company manufactures large construction, agriculture and transportation equipment that must be welded by a certified welder, Smith said. After achieving an entry level certification, employees improve their skills through in-house welding school.
The company currently has 400 employees, and Smith hopes to hire 45 to 60 new employees by the end of the year with the help of the grant training.
Increasing demand is driving Super Steel’s growth, he said.
“Our volume is up significantly from last year—our volume is almost doubled,” Smith said. “It’s good to be a metal bender right now.”

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