Women in Welding
Local high school engineering students learn about the welding trade and promising career opportunities


A group of female high school students standing together in a welding shop.

Long Beach City College’s Metal Fabrication and Welding departments recently hosted a welding workshop exclusively for female engineering students from the Long Beach Unified School District. The College offered the workshop to inspire more young women to join the manufacturing field.

“It’s a highly lucrative, excellent opportunity for young women, and not enough young women know it’s available,” said Julie Schneider, a faculty member in the Welding Department, who was part of the LBCC team leading the workshop. “This was a great opportunity for students who may not have been exposed to industry to see what takes place, visualize themselves in the environment and do the work.”

About 20 students attended from Cabrillo High School, McBride High School and Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science.

LBCC faculty members Damon Skinner and Tim Shoemaker kicked off the workshop by demonstrating the metal cutting machine. The high school students then did their own hands-on welding with the help of faculty and LBCC welding students Katie Fajardo, Pamela Edwards, John McGibbon and Ryan Turley. Encore Welding Supply of Signal Hill provided the protective gloves for the students.

At the end of the day, each girl went home with a metal ornamental tabletop Christmas tree she helped craft.

Having Julie, a woman, talk to these young ladies was very powerful,” said Lenny Perez, head of the Engineering Department at Sato and Faculty Advisor for the school’s chapter of Society of Women Engineers. “One of our big things is trying to increase the women on the LBCC campus and women going into the trades. Women are underrepresented. It was an eye-opening experience for [the high school girls] to see that they have these options available.”

Schneider said the event helped instill in the girls the confidence that they can do jobs in these fields. “It removed the mystery and any fear of sparks, flame, and electricity, and they walked away knowing this is something they can do.”

Following the workshop, a number of the high school students expressed interest in pursuing careers in welding and metal fabrication. Some also asked about LBCC’s dual enrollment programs.

“They were excited. We had a hard time pulling them away from the machines,” Schneider said. The department plans to host another workshop in the Spring.

For more information, you can visit LBCC’s Welding and Metal Fabrication programs online.