Past efforts to attract women to welding have had underwhelming results. New programs aim to change that.
On a rainy Saturday morning in May, Samantha Farr was standing in front of a steel table, drawing loops in the air with a welding gun. “You want to hear a nice sizzle—and you want to breathe,” Farr, the founder of a Detroit nonprofit called Women Who Weld, told the dozen women assembled around the table at a community workshop in Ann Arbor. “This should be meditative.” She pushed the trigger switch and lowered the welding gun onto a small, squarish slab of metal.
The women—from cities across Michigan, and clad in mint-green jackets and gloves, their hair encased under caps—were learning for the first time how to weld, or how to fuse metals together. Farr pointed to the legs and frame of the table. “Metal is all around you and it needs to be welded.”
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