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News Release
Regional SkillsUSA Welding Competition Hosted by Kelso High School on February 8 - 02/06/23

High demand. Skills gap. Critical need. These are just a few terms that describe the outlook of the welding workforce. With an average of 84,000 welding job openings each year, the American Welding Society projects we’ll need 336,000 new welding professionals by 2026. An increased focus on CTE (career and technical education) courses with pathways to the trades by area schools, like Kelso High School, aims to help.

Kelso High School is hosting the regional SkillsUSA Welding competition on Wednesday, February 8, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Thirty-five students from eleven high schools will compete for a chance to move onto the state welding competition. Welding contestants will participate in a variety of timed activities designed to test their skills. Competition activities include a written test, measuring gauges, oxy-fuel and plasma arc cutting processes, flux core arc welding, gas metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and shielded metal arc welding. 

Industry experts will judge the competition and hand out medals for state-bound winners. Field reps will also be onsite to meet with student competitors during wait times. This is an opportunity for students to hear firsthand about future employment opportunities in the skilled and technical welding industry. 

Regional SkillsUSA Welding Competition
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Kelso High School Welding Area
Competition: 2:00 – 5:00 pm, Awards 5:30 – 6:00 pm 



  • Battle Ground High School 
  • Centralia High School
  • Evergreen High School 
  • Fort Vancouver High School 
  • Ilwaco High School
  • Kalama High School
  • Kelso High School 
  • Napavine School District 
  • Prairie High School 
  • Washougal High School 
  • White Salmon High School



  • Dan Brown - Central Welding 
  • Jeff Erskine - United Association Local 26 
  • Paul Helenberg - Mayor of Castle Rock and retired pipe fitter
  • Tony Howard - Hoffman Construction
  • Cody Jones - JH Kelly
  • CJ Murray - Air Gas
  • David Pittsley - Lower Columbia College
  • Camaron Wilkenson - United Association Local 26 



  • Air Gas
  • Central Welding
  • CK Worldwide
  • Hoffman Construction Company
  • JH Kelly
  • United Association Local 26 
  • Washington Way Market


Kelso School District has a long-standing tradition of excellence in education.  The CTE program offers approximately 70 on-site courses and 7 off-campus courses in partnership with industry leaders. Students can earn dual credit in 31 CTE courses. In the area of welding, the district offers the opportunity to earn five welding certifications. Kelso School District’s mission is to prepare every student for living, learning, and achieving success as a citizen of our changing world.

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