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Latinas Welding Guild sparks passion in trade, breaks barriers

Latina welders sparking passion in the trade

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Latinas Welding Guild has been smashing barriers in a world where women are under-represented.

Beating the odds in male-dominated industries such as welding doesn’t come easy. But, the Latinas Welding Guild has risen above the challenge.

Jessica Hernandez, deputy director of the Guild, said, “We do obviously a lot of our technical training, but honestly what we do mostly is build community.”

They are considered to be a bright spark in the world of welding.

According to the American Welding Society, about 5% of welders are women, but the sky is the limit for the Latinas Welding Guild in Indianapolis.

Hernandez said, “Women of color make up an even smaller percentage of that, so having a training facility and school ran by Latino women, empowering folks that look like us and diverse welders to get into the trade is really unique.”

Consuelo Lockhart leads the organization. Since 2017, it has offered new career opportunities for marginalized communities. This month, the group opened a new facility on the city’s west side, adding new programs.

Hernandez said, “We’ve actually recently started our youth programming, so we’re now able to serve incoming sixth through 12th graders who want to explore this as a career, and it’s great for them to test out what welding looks like and giving them opportunities to learn and grow.”

She will now help lead Project Azul, a nonprofit focusing on skills training, workforce coaching, and job placement. The leaders of Morales Group Staffing previously led it.

Hernandez said, “So, now with more programming, that means that folks are really able to beef up their resumes, and not just get a job but now move into careers that are really fulfilling and meaningful to them.”

She says they’re hopeful the new programs will torch the ceiling for women welders. “Our goal is, in the next 10 years, we’re going to have international programming. Like, our goal is to open a trade school, not just all over the United States, but in Guatemala and in Mexico and in other countries that can really use our program and services.”

The Latinas Welding Guild says it’s also searching for another welding instructor to help the group educate the next generation of welders.