WHITE CITY, Ore. -- Even in 2019, welding very much remains a male-dominated field.
"They always have questions, 'Oh a woman welder, why did you start doing that?'" said Michelle Markus, a welder at Rogue Community College. She is one of four women in the welding program at RCC. "I wanted to do something where I am using my hands and my body and my mind to be able to create."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 more than 600,000 thousand people were welders in America. Less than 12,000 of those were women.
"I think the people that have known me for a while always kind of heard me talking about it. Ever since I was young," said Markus.
The welding industry, like other skilled trade industries, is in desperate need of workers. The demand for products is increasing, however the labor force is not increasing at the same time. The plus side is that finding a job after college becomes easier for those who learn welding.
"There are just so many that are open and just begging for workers, so I feel good about it," said Markus.
Now to the people wondering why she chose this career — Markus doesn't want to be in an office and she likes the different opportunities that come with welding.
"There is so many different mediums and so many different ways to weld. So many different jobs that there is so much variety . . . I just have the confidence that I wouldn't get bored," said Markus.
Like a lot of women that joined a skilled workforce there is a bit of hesitation and vulnerability.
"If my story can inspire any of females that are thinking about joining a male-dominated industry . . . If you ever have the dreams just do it and go for it," said Markus.
If you do go for it, you can be a part of the increasing number of women joining the industry.