MASON CITY, Iowa - As more and more welders hang up their helmets for retirement, the demand for new workers is on the rise. And you may be surprised that more women are starting to pick up a soldering iron and torch to fill those satisfy the high demand.
While the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that women make up only 5% of those working in the welding field, some, including institutions like NIACC, are looking to change that statistic through the 'Women in Welding' program. The four-week program were given an understanding of proper welding techniques and procedures for welding structural carbon steel with the Gas Metal Arc Welding, and including practicing with flat, horizontal and vertical positions of welding fillet welds.
Nichole McRoberts formerly worked in inventory, and is one of 6 women that went through the program and received a diploma of completion. She found out about the program through IowaWorks.
"It sounded so good, it was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."
At first, she was a little nervous, but had some great support from her instructor.
"I didn't know if I even going to make a regular bead down on it, but practice, practice, practice. He's like, 'oh, it didn't look too bad.'"
If more women follow in McRoberts' footsteps, the low statistic of women in the welding field could change.
"I never thought I'd be in welding, ever. But I think it's right up my alley."
Teresa Godden recently decided to make a change by pursuing welding as well, and she says her recent graduation from drug court gave her the motivation she needed.
"It gave me ambition to not quit on it and not give up on it. I gave it a try, and it was awesome."
She and the other graduates were even given job offers from Garner-based IMT as well. For those looking to make a career change, Teresa has some words of encouragement.
"Don't give up. Keep trying, and do what you love and embrace who you are. It will take you to the top."
"Even if you don't think you can do it, you can," McRoberts adds.
Funding for the program was provided through an Integrated Education and Training grant administered by the NIACC Adult Literacy and Education Program.
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