CLEVELAND — On the heels of International Women’s Day last week, Lakeshore Technical College welcomed 20 women to its campus for Women Power Manufacturing.
The full-day event gave women the opportunity to get hands-on experience in advanced manufacturing.
“We are showing women—from high school students to working adults—that advanced manufacturing careers aren’t just for men,” said Choua Lee, an LTC career coach who works to promote non-traditional occupations. “Advanced manufacturing offers women lucrative jobs in high-tech, clean facilities.”
As each woman moved through the areas of welding, fabrication, machine tool, electro-mechanical, and mechanical design they created their own full-size tool box.
Sydney Theobald, a senior at Sheboygan Falls High School, was excited about the toolbox she had created using a laser cutter, metal bender, and welder. She was also inspired by the women currently working in manufacturing who shared their stories and led activities at each station.
“It is interesting to listen to their experiences and see them in this setting,” Theobald said. “I already applied to LTC’s Industrial Welding program and this event just confirms my career choice.”
For the last 11 years, Sarah Fischer has worked as a welder in Manitowoc and Brown counties. She is also an adjunct welding instructor at LTC and said she wants women to know that manufacturing can be very rewarding.
“Not only does the field offer amazing wages, it offers you the chance to take great pride in your work,” said Fischer. “I would tell women to just try it. Try welding or machine tool. You might be surprised how good you will be.”
Fischer also shared the reality of being a woman in manufacturing. She said that a woman will most likely be one of a few, or the only, female in a manufacturing setting, but affirmed she had never had a problem in her career. “Be confident in knowing you can do your job and remind yourself that everyone takes a little time to adjust,” she concluded.
The day also included presentations from Kohler Co. Engineers Carla Yancy and Sarah Lichterman. They offered advice and shared their personal stories of career advancement in manufacturing.