In 2007, weld training instructor Dave Dybdal decided that the two training booths he was running in a corner of one of our production facilities wasn’t enough. With the backing of the company, Dybdal was able to transform an onsite storage shed into a state-of-the-art training center to give current and new employees the opportunity to learn the latest welding technologies.
Training welders in-house allows Superior to develop a large enough pool of talent within the company to meet its own demand. Depending on the certification, getting trained takes one to six weeks, much shorter than the typical nine month programs offered at area technical schools. Dybdal explains, “We can train so quickly because we specialize the training to the area that our employees are going to work in.”
The facility is fully dedicated to educating welders and operates separately from the production shops. It includes a break room, a classroom, and a shop with nine weld training stations. Dybdal states, “Yes, it is an investment for the company, but we’re a lot farther ahead than other places. Either you step up and invest in training your people to get to the next level or you stay static. Our organization works to achieve world-class goals.”
Welding methods taught at the facility include shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, flux-cored arc, gas tungsten arc, and submerged arc. Thirty percent of training is spent in the classroom learning theory, while the other seventy percent is spent in the lab getting one-on-one instruction. Dybdal is a certified weld educator and is qualified to administer tests and award certifications. Students earn welding certifications from ASME and AWS. As they gain experience in the shop, welders have the opportunity to revisit the training center and add to their skill, gaining higher and more varied certifications.
Dybdal’s responsibilities also include “training the trainers” within the company. He works with part-time trainers at multiple divisions, equipping them with the tools they need to teach new employees welding techniques. The vision of the weld training center to invest in its students goes hand in hand with Superior’s culture of opportunity. Personal improvement is encouraged and hard work is rewarded.