LEXINGTON, Ky. — It’s a trade skill that’s slowly drawing more women to a long-term career. A Lexington workshop space is teaching women to weld.
Brittni Hart spends time teaching a group of women the art of welding.
“You can adjust like to lighter or darker and then you know how long it takes to darken or lighten it back up. You’ve got weld, cut, and grind under the settings for this one,” Hart said.
It always starts with safety first, followed by a demo.
“It took me a minute to like realize that puddle and how it’s supposed to look and how you’re supposed to guide it and direct and everything,” Hart said as she explains to four women who signed up for the class.
Hart grew up in Tennessee and now lives in central Kentucky.
“Started off at BCTC and then was going through all my four classes and then I was like, I want to do some kind of trade,” Hart said.
She knew what to weed out and wasn’t really interested in healthcare trade skills. So she picked welding, drawing from experience years ago when she welded on a friend’s Jeep.
“I think in my class, there was 20, and for what there was like, including me, two or three women in there, females in that class,” Hart said.
So she earned an associate’s degree in welding technologies from the Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
“We’re definitely wanting, you know, more females in the industry, just because I mean, there’s not many hardly,” Hart said.
The non-profit organization Women Who Weld said women make up only 5% of the workforce in the welding industry.
“Oh my gosh, this is so cool,” said Amy Varner, a participant.
So whether the group at the Kre8now Makerspace in Lexington sees welding as a hobby or career, for any Varner it’s learning a new skill.
“How many people can say they know how to weld and as of 10 minutes ago, I can now say I know how to weld. It’s really cool. It’s powerful. It’s fine. It’s practical if you ever want to put something together,” Varner said.
A skill that’s gaining popularity for more women who are more comfortable welding.
“I mean it’s fun. I enjoy it a lot,” Hart said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in this decade jobs of welders, cutters and more are projected to grow 8% about as fast as the average for all occupations.