Some local Mobile County students are attending a summer camp unlike any other. It’s called “Girls Can” camp, and the girls are learning how to weld! It’s trial by fire literally, for these girls, who, on the first day picked up the skill quickly! Student Alli Merryman says, “I was scared to weld at first, but I found welding fun.” Alabama power is one of the sponsors of the camp. Beth Thomas with Alabama Power says the whole goal is to expose these young ladies to careers here along the Gulf Coast that they may never have considered. “They learn. They get to do hands-on activities. They also learn about careers. They learn about what it takes to do the work. They learn about the benefits. They learn about the qualifications. We want to plant a seed for the future.”
The girls are learning welding skills from experienced welders like Tonya Byrd, at the Barry Steam plant. Byrd says she wants these girls to consider a career that they never would have thought about. “I enjoy showing these ladies what most women don’t think they can do. I enjoy showing them they can do hands on welding and pipe fitting.”
Alabama Power employs several women welders. Austal co-sponsored the event. Austal has an apprenticeship program for several different types of welding and pipe-fitting. Company officials gave WKRG this information about their employees: “Three of four thousand Austal employees are technical specialists (i.e. welders/fabricators, electricians, fitters, outfitting specialists) in Production. Some of our senior technicians earn upwards of six figures. Terrific opportunities lie in our technical fields.”
For more information about Austal’s apprenticeship program, click here and look under the apprenticeship tab.