RSI Hosts Ceremonial Grand Opening of its Welding Specialist Program

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As baby boomers retire, the demand for welders continues to grow. Within less than a decade, the American Welding Society forecasts a job deficit of 480,000 welders! To keep up with this growing demand, The Refrigeration School, Inc. (RSI) is proud to expand its program offering to include a Welding Specialist Program.

Classes officially started yesterday – Monday, Jan. 22 – for the first track of welding students, but we celebrated this expansion at an intimate Grand Opening on Wednesday, Jan. 17 with more than 30 community members, industry and government leaders.

At the event, RSI campus president, David Eaker, welcomed guests and honored speakers, including Mary Kelly, President and CEO of StrataTech Education Group, Jerry Siko, District Manager at Lincoln Electric, and Michelle Davidson, Chief of Staff for US Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.

Reading a statement from the Congresswoman, Davidson acknowledged the importance of creating a talent pipeline for skilled trade occupations saying, “Trade and technical education is vital to our Arizona economy. Giving students options other than a four-year university education makes financial, economic and common sense. Employers will always need the skilled labor workers who can fix an air conditioner, diagnose an engine malfunction or manufacture a specialty part for an aircraft carrier. RSI is providing that education and giving a new generation of students the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

Lead Instructor Larrison Smith conducted a ceremonial cutting to mark the occasion and attendees received a tour of the facility and the chance to test their skills with a Lincoln Electric Virtual Reality Arc Welding Trainer, which offers a revolutionary welding visual and audio feedback to allow students to practice their welding technique in a simulated environment.

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The Phoenix-area is ranked eighth in the top cities for employment of welders and related industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To bring this program to the Valley, RSI is partnering with Tulsa Welding School (TWS), which has been training welders for almost 70 years and offers campuses at multiple locations throughout the country.

Students of the Welding Specialist Program will receive more than 75 percent hands-on instruction with the guidance of experienced instructional faculty. Interested in learning more? Visit for information.

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