Our Mission

The Still Building America project promotes awareness of the skilled trades as viable career options for our country’s next generation. Americans haven’t forgotten how to work with our hands, but our education system has struggled to properly present and foster a blue collar career as anything other than a Plan B, if at all. By paving a way for our youth to explore the blue collar world, getting tools into their hands, inspiring them to create, repair, and problem solve, and empowering them with fun educational opportunities beyond the traditional classroom experience, we are still building America.

Why It’s Important

With our education system placing a heavy focus on national assessment test scores and pushing 4-year university admission, American students are unable to focus on the vast career options that are actually available to them. If young people are shown that a successful future only comes through a high test score or a university acceptance letter, they are often left feeling defeated. This perpetuates a cycle of hopelessness and increases the chances that our youth will continue to face joblessness, lack of opportunity, generational poverty, illegal drug use, and high crime rates.  So many young people are at high risk in impoverished areas like our hometown of Detroit. They need opportunities to explore, dream, and express themselves outside of textbook math, science, and reading. It is amazing, however, how the desire to learn those things increases when you have an interest or hobby that requires those skills.

What We’re Up To!

  • Follow us on Instagram @StillBuildingAmerica 
  • We hold as many FREE welding workshops for Detroit high school and college students as possible! (Teachers/Mentors: please contact for more info)
  • A  Still Building America Children’s Book Series is in development that will introduce kids to the trades through storytelling. Each book will focus on a different skilled trade or job where you work with your hands.
  • We will also offer Still Building America branded tool kits for kids. Each kit will include a colorful instructional and project idea booklet, along with ideas for resourcing free materials for practicing.
  • Supporters can purchase SBA Stickers AVAILABLE NOW!


  • DONATE Still Building America children’s books to Detroit Public Schools students.
  • DONATE Still Building America Tool Kits to Detroit Public Schools students.
  • EDUCATE: Offer a free school program that will provide fun presentations along with interactive and hands-on projects led by enthusiastic industry professionals, such as welders, auto technicians, electricians, millwrights, and other highly skilled trades men and women.
  • Future plans exist to expand the SBA mission into other areas of the United States. 

Funding the Project

Project to be funded through sponsorships and by a percentage of profits from the sale of Still Building America merchandise, including books, clothing, tool kits, stickers, novelty items, etc. Customers can also purchase the books and tool kits for personal gifts directly, OR books can be purchased and directly donated to students. Still Building America is a passion project of Brown Dog Welding LLC, a community-minded, for-profit business.

Sponsorship & Support

Our team is currently seeking additional sponsors. If you or your business are interested in partnering with us or sponsoring this initiative, please email for more information. We’re still building America – together!

About the Founders

The Skilled Trades have played an important role in the lives of Josh and Darla Welton of Brown Dog Welding, LLC in Detroit MI. Darla’s grandmother worked as an industrial sewer for The Chrysler Corporation, her grandfather and uncle have worked as industrial union plumbers, her father retired as a millwright from DaimlerChrysler and an instructor in the apprenticeship program, and her older brother is currently a millwright at Ram Truck. Josh, of course, started welding as a millwright apprentice for DaimlerChrysler in 2002, where he would work as a journeyman for 7 years, and then more recently as a driver/mechanic/fabricator at General Dynamic Land Systems. Josh and Darla’s love and appreciation of the blue collar world drives their desire to increase awareness of the viability of skilled trades jobs for the next generation of Americans. Josh is a fierce supporter of the shop floor worker and is becoming an increasingly important voice in leading the conversation on the perceived skills gap and actual wage gap. His successful Still Building America column with highlights the stories of young, driven, and enthusiastic skilled tradespeople in the U.S. who are continuing to pave the way for the industry.  Josh and Darla want to use their passion to encourage and educate with their Still Building America mission.


Josh Darla