It’s an interesting perspective from Melissa Koblos, a 2016 Lincoln Tech graduate and one of the thousands of women who have graduated from Lincoln Tech schools over the years. Women’s History Month is a great opportunity to look back at some of our recent graduates and their accomplishments in the transportation and skilled trade fields. We are hoping these women and their stories inspire the next generation of female welders, HVAC Techs, CNC Machinists and others.
A Navy Veteran Finds a New Calling – Welding.
Koblos, an Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Petty Officer, served in the US Navy, and was stationed on the CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt. As a student, Koblos found that her military experience provided her with a strong foundation for a hands-on career like welding. “I’ve always worked with my hands, from helping with the family farm, to turning a wrench, to building ordnance,” Koblos says. “It’s immensely satisfying to be able to say, ‘I built that.’”
Melissa received her Welding Technology training at Lincoln Tech’s Denver, CO campus, and was the only female in her class. “I knew one woman in the class ahead of me,” explains Koblos, who was hired as a fabricator at Cutting Edge Steel in Dacono, CO after graduation. “It was refreshing to have another woman to bounce around theories and ideas . You might face the occasional Neanderthal that feels welding is the last bastion for men, so I recommend growing a thick skin. Welding is a satisfying and honest way to earn a paycheck.”
Welding is a Skilled Trade That Should Appeal to Women.
Welding, like many other trades, is facing a skilled labor shortage that will continue as older workers are retiring. “Since there’s a shortage of skilled workers and the pay is good, welding is a marvelous opportunity for young women,” according to Nancy Cole, a former American Welding Society (AWS) president. The AWS sets and maintains rigorous standards for professional welders entering the workforce, and Lincoln Tech is an Educational Institution Member. “Welding is not a dead-end job,” Cole said. “It’s a good paying career.”
“Traditionally, there’s been a negative perception towards the skilled trades among younger generations – and especially young women,” says Lou Vendrell, Corporate Director of Education for Lincoln Tech’s Automotive and Skilled Trades programs. “They believe that Skilled Trade jobs are low paying, involve extreme physical work, are dirty, and aren’t intellectually stimulating. But the technological advances taking place in fields like welding make these industries excellent places to turn for young people looking for exciting, rewarding careers.”
If Melissa’s story inspired you to pursue a career in Welding Technology or a different skilled trade, reach out to Lincoln Tech. We can help you put your potential to work!