Women in Welding News

Continuing our coverage of the rise of women working in the welding field and other construction trades, let’s take a look at one untapped way to reach new welding students: our nation’s substantial prison population. As unfortunate as that might sound, just think about how many thousands of would-be welders are sitting behind bars, wishing they could make something of their lives once they gain back their freedom. What if most of our imprisoned citizens learned useful trades such as how to operate welding equipment, on both sides of the continent from Georgia to California? One story out of Wisconsin is warming our hearts and showing how welding can join metals as solidly as it can connect people to more secure futures.

WOMEN WELDERS MELT BARS BEHIND BARS

As a welder, you know how much skill it takes to really master technology like operating gas metal arc welders, such as the kind that powers your Miller welder. Most of the women learning how to weld in prison are doing from the ground up, without any prior experience in the technical trades. Their term in prison provides a reset and, ironically, a chance to take control of their future. A local technical college offers a ‘boot camp’ model of welding intensive with a certificate that they can complete in a few months. Then once independent citizens again, they can get straight to work at a decent wage. Or, if they are able to continue their education, enroll in a longer term welding diploma program at the same college, on the outside.

BALANCED EDUCATION IN WELDING EQUIPMENT

The technical component of this certification program is quite robust. It allows the women to read plans, operate welding machines, and get their hands on GMAW and TIG welders too. This is the kind of welding- specific career prep classes we at Sidney Lee like to see for all students of welding. We wish these hard working women nothing but the best in their success, for a stronger future building America’s infrastructure with welding equipment.