USDA boosts standardized welding training using audio-assisted training machines with Texas State grant

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | May 23, 2023

person welding metal with sparks flying

Texas State University has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop and improve welding instruction in four-year academic institutions.

In support of USDA’s Project SWEAT (Standardized Welding Education and Training), Texas State will use the $750,000 grant to create and implement a standardized welding curriculum across four-year academic institutions as well as increase participant knowledge and performance of welding techniques. Bradley Borges, a senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Sciences, will serve as the project investigator for Texas State.  

In addition to Texas State, Sam Houston State University and Tarleton State University are participating in SWEAT to address the growing shortage of qualified welders in the United States. Projections indicate the domestic welding workforce will reach a deficit of more than 375,000 workers by 2026. As the nation's infrastructure ages and requires increased maintenance, it is crucial to efficiently train emerging and current welders without sacrificing quality.

To create a standardized welding curriculum for post-secondary academic institutions, students across the participating institutions will receive the same training with the same feedback to standardize welding education with the use of the Lincoln Electric REALWELD, a computer-based audial feedback welding training machine that allows instructors to increase their effectiveness when instructing beginning welders. Training programs have evolved over time to better prepare welders with the latest simulator technologies, such as virtual reality and audio coaching.

The use of standardized instruction across three post-secondary institutions in Texas through SWEAT is expected to increase students’ knowledge and performance of welding techniques. The collaboration between the three institutions is also expected to lead to opportunities for shared efforts on research, teaching and professional development.

For more information on the grant, visit

two students using welding machines
<i>TXST students learning how to weld using the Lincoln Electric REALWELD welding training machines</i>

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922