LBW holding free ‘Women in Welding’ course

Published 7:30 am Monday, June 20, 2022

The Women’s Foundation of Alabama and LBW Community College are sponsoring a 12-week free course offered to women needing the training to enter the welding workforce.

Participants will receive OSHA 10 certification and be assessed by an instructor and qualified as certified workers. Free childcare and job placement assistance are offered. There is no tuition due and a $500 stipend is offered for required welding equipment.

The course will be offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. beginning July 11 and ending Sept. 30 at the LBW MacArthur campus in Opp.

During World War II, a workforce revolution took place in the United States. When men went to war, there were a lot of open positions that women stepped up to fill. They moved from more domestic work to enter the workforce most notably the skilled trades.

The workforce saw an increase in women across all industries, and by 1943, they made up 65 percent of the labor force. This growth was spearheaded by the advertising campaign featuring “Rosie the Riveter.” It became one of the most iconic images of women working during the war.

While women were working across a range of trade industries, opportunities opened for them to weld. They handled many responsibilities and jobs in steel factories. An issue of Life magazine from 1943 even featured an image of a female welder on its cover.

Women welders helped build ships, equipment, aircraft, and weapons needed by the troops. They worked hard to ensure parts and supplies were manufactured.

Women mostly returned to traditional roles once men returned home from war, but the movement shifted attitudes about working women and their impact on society. The strong women who entered the workforce during WWII helped pave a new path.

In the ensuing decades, women have continued to show their capabilities in all kinds of roles, and there are many opportunities for women who weld.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 3.8 percent of welding, soldering, and brazing workers were women in 2020. The welding industry is also growing with total welder employment in the United States expected to exceed 452,000 by the year 2030.

Contact Director of Adult Education Kate Dust at adulated@lbwcc.edu to register. Enrollment is limited.