New Trailer Designed to Spark Interest in Welding Careers

UP and Portland Community College promoting welding careers

Union Pacific and Portland Community College team up to show the next generation what a career in welding could look like.

Starting this summer, a new 40-foot trailer will start making stops in the Portland region to spark interest and educate young adults about welding and the many Union Pacific career opportunities available in the field.

The traveling welding trailer is a collaboration between Portland Community College (PCC) and Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, designed to recruit more students to the college and expose them to welding opportunities at Union Pacific.

“Welding is a very sought-after skill set,” said Carrie Wetter, senior recruiter-Talent Acquisition for the Pacific Northwest. “Union Pacific wants to help people see themselves in this field, and our partnership with Portland Community College provides another opportunity for exposure.”

Welders are critical to Union Pacific’s daily operations, repairing and changing rail at switches and other heavy traffic areas. Their work helps drive safety goals, ensuring the tracks are in good condition.

Dakota Pyle, who has worked as a welder in Portland and Troutdale for the past five years, said he enjoys the job because he likes being outside and working with his hands.

“I like seeing a project from start to finish in one day,” Pyle said. “I like repairing the track to the manufacturer’s specs and paying attention to the details.”

This trailer will promote welding at schools and communities | M

This 40-foot trailer will visit schools, community events and Native American reservations to reach youth who may have never experienced this type of career path.

The traveling PCC welding trailer will offer six welding bays that provide hands-on opportunities to learn about different types of welding, including flux core welding and gas metal arc welding, accompanied by oxy fuel training. The trailer will also feature safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and different types of power tools welders use. Organizers are still discussing the trailer’s destinations; however, it will likely make stops at Portland-area high schools, middle schools, Native American reservations, and at career fairs and events.

“It will target kids coming out of high school and making career decisions, as well as people looking to change jobs or looking for a different career path,” said Aaron Hunt, senior director-Public Affairs for the Pacific Northwest.

Organizers anticipate the new initiative will reach thousands of potential students over the next couple years, which will hopefully draw more employees – including more women and people of color to Union Pacific. The railroad set aggressive diversity goals in 2020, aiming to increase its people of color population from 29.4% to 40% and double its female population to 11% by 2030.

“By setting up shop at different venues, this mobile welding unit will let people dabble in welding while exposing them to the trades PCC offers and the skill sets Union Pacific needs to recruit and hire for,” Hunt said.

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