Welding is one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. And it’s an excellent career choice because the need for welding spans so many industries: manufacturing, aerospace, infrastructure, automotive, construction, trains and more. Those entering the profession can do so with a starting salary over $40,000 straight out of high school.

And yet, like many skilled trades, welding is facing significant skills gaps and labor shortages. The average welder today is 54 years old, so we’ll see a huge influx of open positions in the coming decade. But one statistic reports that 60% of new applicants get turned away due to a lack of job-ready skills.

Miller Electric Welding Partnership

The solution is to develop welding programs as early as K-12 that equip students with job-ready welding skills. To do so, a program needs:

  • Welding equipment designed for education
  • Curriculum aligned to AWS (American Welding Society) standards
  • Real-time feedback and data for instructors

LAB Midwest has partnered with Miller Electric to provide schools with all the equipment and resources to train the next generation of world-class welders. Founded right here in the Midwest (Appleton, WI) nearly 100 years ago, the Miller brand is well known in the industry for its high-quality equipment.

Miller Welding Equipment

Miller has developed two systems designed specifically to train, assess and prepare students for welding: AugmentedArc and LiveArc.

The Miller AugmentedArc uses augmented reality (AR) to immerse the student in a computer-generated workspace where she can weld metal workpieces. Within the helmet is a high-def display where she will see her weld arcs and weld beads as realistically as live welding.

Miller Welding AugmentedArcCustomizable heads-up displays provide real-time feedback on contact-tip-to-work-distance, travel angle, travel speed and more. After each pass, the AugmentedArc provides a full analysis of the weld, showing where the learner can improve and where she has mastered skills.

AugmentedArc is perfect for middle school STEM spaces, fab labs, high schools starting a new welding program, and technical colleges for introductory-level coursework. It offers easy setup, safe welding for beginners and young students, a video game-like feel to learning, and no cost of consumables!

The Miller LiveArc has two modes: simulated and live arc welding. This is a great next step for learners looking to continue building their welding skillset. High school and technical college programs can add these to the AugmentedArc to build out their classrooms.

The MIG SmartGun on the LiveArc provides tactile vibration feedback so students can make performance adjustments in real-time. The instructor interface also provides feedback on each weld, including work angle, aim, contact-tip-to-work-distance and more. All this data can be stored and reviewed at any time to track the learner’s progress.

OpenBook Curriculum

OpenBook is a free learning management system for teachers to plan, implement and assess learning. The OpenBook curriculum aligns to AWS standards, so you can be confident in the course materials while focusing your time customizing the resources to fit your program’s needs.

With OpenBook, teachers can

  • Deliver welding instructional content
  • Create quizzes
  • Download welding labs
  • Monitor student participation
  • Assess and report student progress and performance

As an educator, you have free access to this curriculum. Click here to try OpenBook!

Learn more about Miller Welding for your school

We’re your experts in technical education, curriculum and world-class service. If you’re considering Miller welding solutions for your classroom, let us guide you!