Philadelphia Program Aims to Get More Women Into the Welding Industry


Engineer teaching robot welding machine
Image via iStock.
Women make up only 8 percent of the welding workforce. The Welding Technology Program at CCP is one that aims to increase that percentage.

Community College of Philadelphia’s Welding Technology Program aims to attract more women to the welding industry, writes Vicky Diaz-Camacho for Billy Penn at WHYY.

Currently, just 8 percent of the welding workforce are women. However, David Poe, the instructor and former welder who runs the program, hopes to help change that.

The training shop where he teaches students looks like a small factory. Here students learn how to handle dangerous tools and flammable gasses.

“In four months, I have to teach them how to be welders,” said Poe. “It is quick. It’s hard, but it’s on the student.”

One of the participants, Camyra Sawyer, who was attracted to the program by its quick timeline from school to job, caught on to welding from the first day, said Poe.

After her training was completed, she got a job on a military base paying around $32 per hour. While it was not easy at first, she persevered.

“Especially being the only Black girl,” she said. “I got discouraged when I first started. I think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m the only girl on my shift. Everybody [is] looking at stuff that I do.’ So you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and just tell yourself, ‘Listen, I can do it.’”

Read more about the Welding Technology Program in Billy Penn at WHYY.


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