By the time Morganne Emery entered her senior year of high school at the Limestone Community School, she had already completed most of the coursework needed to graduate. With availability in her schedule, she wanted to make good use of her time and learn a skill. She decided to pursue the welding program at the Caribou Regional Technology Center (CRTC). “I had tried welding before and thought it was cool.” Her father and boyfriend are also welders and encouraged her to try the trade. She tried metal inert gas (MIG) welding. “I thought it was easy.”
Morganne recalls starting the program at the CRTC. “It was rough at first trying to learn everything, but the second year students helped a lot.” Including Morganne, there were two females and nine males in the welding program at the CRTC. “I really liked having another girl around. It was great. But I never had any trouble with the guys, either.”
Morganne had a positive experience at the CRTC. “I really liked welding at the technology center so I thought I would try it at NMCC.” She is grateful for having welding experience prior to attending NMCC, as having a welding background has helped her be successful at the College. “It has been great so far. I have had my struggles, but I just take a break from what I’m doing and go back to it. My classmates will help and offer tips without me asking.”
Morganne is the only female in the welding program, which consists of approximately fifteen students. Before she started the program, she assumed she would be the only female. “I wasn’t expecting another girl to be in welding.” Although she reports that it was initially “different” spending her days with all males, she has gotten used to it. “I knew some of my classmates when I started because I went to the CRTC with them. I bonded with the rest of the class really quickly.”
During her time at NMCC, Morganne has earned a 3.5 grade point average. She admits that transitioning to college was an adjustment. “It’s not like high school.” She recommends developing good time management skills and finding time in your schedule to complete homework. “Go to class, do your homework, and study.”
Because structural welding is a one-year certificate program, Morganne will be graduating in May. She is still contemplating what she would like to do with her certificate when she graduates. Being from Caswell, Maine, Morganne enjoys living in Aroostook County. “I would like to stay in the area and find a career in welding.” Graduates from the program can find employment opportunities with industrial contractors, fabrication shops, and manufacturing facilities.
Women possess traits that can benefit the welding field. According to Morganne, women have a tendency to be detail-oriented and precise when completing projects. Challenges for women in welding may include physical strength. People’s perceptions of women in the trades may also be a barrier. “People may perceive a woman as being incapable of doing the job.”
Morganne offers advice for women considering a career in welding. “Don’t let those who have more experience than you intimidate you. Don’t be intimidated by men, either. Try not to think just because you are a girl you can’t to it. You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.”
Morganne encourages males and females to consider a career in welding. “It’s a great trade for anyone.”
Welders, Cutters, & Welder Fitters
Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
Critical thinking, operation and control, monitoring, and reading comprehension.
2016 National Average Pay
Projected Job Growth: 2016-2026
Source: O’NET Online (2017)
NMCC 2016 Structural Welding Graduate Success Rate (Employed, Continuing Education, or both)