For generations, welding has been a male dominated field.
However, in the last few years there has been a rise in women applying themselves to this workforce, and that trend is seen here locally.
For Adela Ornelas, sparking up a torch and putting two metal pieces together is something she says didn’t think she would end up falling in love with it.
Ornelas says the passion came unexpectedly in high school.
After graduating, she continued to craft at the Texas State Technical College.
“I liked the hard work… It made me feel empowered as for being a female knowing I’m doing something great,” she said.
Right now, Ornelas is only one of two female students in the degree program but welding instructor Manuel Ahumada says they are seeing more women in welding here in the Valley.
“I’ve seen an increase of women coming into the welding field. When I first started, there was maybe one in the semester and now there’s maybe up to five,” he explained.
While Ahumada says women make up to five percent in the workforce compared to males, he believes those numbers will continue to increase in the coming years with growing job opportunities in the field.
It’s a profession that is expected to grow six percent in the country by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Right now, women only make four percent of that workforce.
“The women can do anything that the males can do,” says Ahumada. “We have all different types of branches not just welding itself but certified welding inspectors, we have welding engineers so they have all the opportunities the males have.”
Female professionals like Ornelas say they want to leave their mark.
“Its 2019, it’s all about equality, and I see if a male can do this job so can females,” she said.
Ahumada adds they offer resources for females interested in enrolling in the welding program.
For more information you can visit the website : www.tstc.edu/programs/WeldingTechnology