Thanking the Unsung Heroes: Skilled Trades at U.S. Borax

:: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 :: Posted By Mary Beth Garrison
When you think of the heroes you’ve looked up to in your career or personal life, what are the qualities you admire? Skill? Knowledge? Strength? Intelligence? Perseverance? Work ethic?
Those are the kinds of qualities that make any organization strong. And, they are the qualities we celebrate on National Skilled Trades Day.
What is a skilled trade? These are the people who, quite literally, keep the lights on. And, keep the plumbing working, the machinery operating, and the vehicles moving.
Skilled trade workers are essential to running an operation like U.S. Borax, and we are proud to have some of the best team members in the business.

Skilled trades at U.S. Borax: The heart of our operations

U.S. Borax is well known for the scientific research and engineering expertise behind our high-quality, refined borate products. But none of our products would be possible without the work that goes into supporting our mine and plant operations.
Skilled trades support every facet of our operations—from the mine to the refining process, quality control to shipping. We rely on a vast range of qualified workers including:
  • Welders and millwrights
  • Truck operators and maintenance technicians
  • Refrigeration technicians
  • Plant equipment operators and maintenance technicians
  • Electricians and instrumentation technicians
  • Plumbers and slurry systems technicians
  • Machinists
  • Carpenters
  • Forklift handlers and warehouse staff
  • Facilities maintenance
  • Administrative professionals
Each of these roles requires specialized knowledge and experience. For the people who choose skilled trades, they can offer a lifetime of rewards.

Hands on work, starting where you are

In a society that seems laser-focused on sending everyone to college, many people overlook the career options available in skilled trades. Often, you don’t need a college degree to do these jobs but they offer opportunities for good pay, advancement, continuous learning, and career stability. These are professions that are in demand. In fact, during the pandemic, demand for skilled trade workers has increased, even when other job sectors have seen drops.

Many trades begin with paid apprenticeships. U.S. Borax offers paid, in-house training programs for millwright/welding and electrical/instrumentation specialties at our Boron and Wilmington, California facilities. These entry-level positions are open to anyone with a high school diploma or GED, an active driver’s license—and an interest and aptitude for learning the trade.
An apprentice is classified as a Helper who works closely with qualified, expert craftspeople. Under their supervision, Helpers attend training courses and perform a wide variety of tasks, working to learn and master essential skills. Upon successful completion of the training program, the apprentice is promoted to Journeyman—a qualified practitioner in their trade.
At U.S. Borax, many of the plant’s supervisors—including the plant maintenance manager at our Boron, California operations—started their careers in our onsite training programs.

Skilled trades build our future

Currently, there is a tremendous need for skilled trades people in the United States. As older, knowledgeable workers begin to look forward to retirement, the pool of younger workers who are entering trades is shrinking. That gap presents a serious challenge to employers.
We know the value that our trade workers bring to our organization, and we actively invest providing the support and training they need to succeed and thrive. In return, we get exceptional, dedicated professionals who stay and grow their careers with us.
It’s a win for everyone. Thank you to all our hardworking trade staff!




U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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