The Boy Scouts of America introduces a new merit badge, hoping to address a major need for skilled workers. The very first merit badge for welding was awarded in March.
The new badge is in response to what's expected to be a major shortage of welders. By 2019, the industry could be short as many as 150,000 skilled welders, as more and more older, experienced welders retire.
Midwest Technical Institute in Moline has a 30 and 40 week welding course. About70-80 students are currently enrolled.
The Illowa Council of the Boy Scouts say it hasn't had any interest from Quad City boys about the welding badge yet.