Women in Welding
According to the "American Welder", approximately 6 percent of the welders in the United States are women. Many in the welding industry believe that women possess the characteristics that make up a good welder, including
great hand-eye coordination and patience. A woman’s professional role in the
metal-trades is increasing as women discover alternative
opportunities previously dominated by men.
A career in welding can be extremely lucrative and exciting, and can lead to high-level employment in various industries.
Meet Aleasha Hladilek – When she realized her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from a four-year university wouldn’t get her a job, Aleasha headed back to school. Interested in welding, but unable to get into the program
at the time, Aleasha chose the automotive technician program. That knowledge helped land her a job in the auto industry working on brakes, exhaust
systems and mufflers. It was there that her interest in welding increased and persuaded her to attend WITC-Superior for further welding training.
Aleasha graduated from the welding program and was hired by NorthStar
Aerospace. She was later offered the opportunity to assist with the WITC welding program. That opportunity has since grown to a full-time position as a
Teaching Assistant, where she supports various programs including welding. She
also teaches artistic welding through continuing education and works with high
school students through contract training. Aleesha is pursing a Master's Degree at UW-Stout in Career and Technical Education and plans to graduate in August 2011.
When Maren Almstedt was asked how she fit into a male-dominated class
she replied: “There was one other woman in the class with me, and we both fit in really well. At first, there were a few awkward moments, but then we all loosened up. Eventually, we turned into a big family. We helped each other out. The group was never divided in thinking guys versus girls; it was just one class and we were all in it together.” Read more about
“Andi Neff is a graduate of the WITC Superior 2008 welding class. She has been hired as a welder at Chart Industries, a cryogenic tank manufacturer. She will be performing TIG welding on stainless steel tanks. Andi demonstrated good skill, hand-eye coordination and patience during her training at WITC which allowed her to excel in this type of welding. Welders earn up to $22 per hour in this position plus great benefits.”
Many women have graduated from WITC’s Welding program.
This photo, taken in 1944, recognizes the contributions of women welders at
Butler Shipyards in Superior, Wis., who helped build more than 50 Liberty ships
for the U.S. military during World War II.