Support your future customers and the community by “Paint a Vo Tech”

As we begin spring 2012, the GAWDA leadership team is putting plans in place to carry through with the initiative announced by then GAWDA President Lloyd Robinson at the annual convention in New York City and challenging all of our members to “Paint a Vo Tech”.

In celebration of April’s designation as “National Welding Month”, we are asking all GAWDA members to identify a local school with a welding program.  Assist this school with recruiting new students and brightening the attitude of current students by cleaning up the classroom and/ or welding center.  Turn a dingy classroom into a bright learning environment with a fresh coat of paint.  Clean up, paint, repair, replace curtains & screens, put up posters, add and/or organize parts cabinets, put consumables in bins, provide training manuals and videos and anything else you can think of.  Get the students and faculty involved; we found them to be very interested and helpful in the improvement of their environment.  Ask your vendors to assist and contribute, make it a community service project for your employees and families.  Arrange a “Careers” discussion with the kids.  Talk to them about the skills, attitude and appearance that are important to today’s employers.  In a day you can make a difference that will last a lifetime.

We all have welding schools in our market area that need our assistance and support.  These students are the future of our industry as customers or employees.  The welding instructor needs your support and encouragement.  Frequently, in any budget cut back, the vocational programs are the first affected.  The school administration and community leaders need to understand our support for welding programs and the students being trained.

To kick off this initiative, both AWISCO and Keen Compressed Gas have stepped up to the challenge and completed the first two “Paint a Vo Tech” projects.  We have included photos showing the huge improvement made at each of the chosen schools.  Also included with this mailing is a DVD we encourage you to use at upcoming career nights, student days, or any other meeting where you have students in attendance.  The DVD is a complete presentation about welding and the myriad of opportunities available in the profession.  All the program needs is an introduction by you or a member of your staff.

Please join the effort to “Paint a Vo Tech”. You, your employees, vendors, and all that participate will feel a great sense of accomplishment.  We want to recognize all of the GAWDA efforts both on the and websites and at the 2012 SMC being held April 28 – May 1 in Baltimore, so get started TODAY!  Be sure to take before and after photos and submit them to Monica Pfarr at  If you need any assistance or have any questions contact either Sam Gentry at or Monica Pfarr.

Together, GAWDA can make a difference for the next generation of welders!


Bryan Keen
2012 GAWDA President









View the Students in Welding Video


How to get started;

  1. Locate a school in your local area with a welding lab and contact the instructor

How to find a school? You may already know of a school in your area with a welding program, but if you don’t, you can visit the AWS Welding School Locator for information on local schools.

  1. Rally the troops and gather your volunteers.

How to get volunteers?  Start with the school instructor and students. Contact your suppliers and ask for their support. Ask for volunteers within your organization. Contact the AWS Section chair and ask for member participation. You’d be amazed at the support you may get for a community service such as this.  Ask for feedback on other local resources. May local groups may jump at the chance to help.

  1. Formulate a plan of action.

What could the project entail?  Meet with the instructor and discuss cleaning, painting, supplying welding posters, safety equipment, curtains and any other needs that they may have. Work out a plan based on the resources available and set a date.

  1. Document your efforts

Have someone bring a camera (we all have them on our smart phones these days) and take before and after pictures. Take down names to acknowledge volunteers and sponsors.

  1. Share your experience

Send us a summary of what was done and participant’s views of the experience, copies of before and after pictures and recognition of volunteers and sponsors. We will publish you good works in the GAWDA Connection, on this web page and whenever possible in the Welding Journal.