In an attempt to address the inequities faced by women in fields like welding, soldering and brazing, College of the Canyons hosted a Women Who Weld workshop last week.
Despite a growing welding industry across the nation, women remain vastly underrepresented in a significant portion of the field’s ranks, school officials said in a news release.
According to data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 4.8 percent of the welding, soldering and brazing workers who lived in the United States in 2012 were women.
Proceeds from last Friday’s workshop will fund a six-week Intensive welding training program for unemployed and underemployed women, according to the release.
The training program is organized by Women Who Weld, which is a Detroit-based nonprofit organization founded by Samantha Farr that teaches women how to weld and find employment in the welding industry, according to college officials.
Farr was in attendance — along with 20 other women — for Friday’s workshop and spent four hours introducing participants to basic gas metal arc welding techniques.
All consumables and materials were supplied through Carl D. Perkins grant funds, while Lincoln Electric and Airgas USA supplied the personal protection equipment and necessary hand tools, which participants were allowed to keep after.
“We need more pioneers like Samantha to get the word out to women about the fantastic career opportunities that now exist,” said Tim Baber, the college’s department chair of welding technology. “She has an uncanny way to connect with her participants.”
Farr said the workshop was the largest attended yet and believed it was a great success.
School officials said more information about the college’s welding department can be found online at bit.ly/2Swfnjb, and details about Women Who Weld are on the organization’s website at bit.ly/2SslW67.