Latinas Welding Guild works to train women

Latinas welding guild in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local welding group is recruiting its next batch of students. They’re doing it while trying to change the idea that welding is a man’s job.

Organizers said there are welding jobs available across the country, and there’s a shortage of qualified people to fill them.

“Women make better welders,” said executive director of Latinas Welding Guild Consuelo Poland.

“When I first started I was really hoping to change my entire career which, in my age, is a little scary,” said welding student Denise Martin.

However, she is facing that fear, and the future looks bright. She’s considering developing a prototype product and starting her own business just based off what she’s learned in welding class.

“If you would’ve asked me six weeks ago if that would have ever crossed my mind I would say oh no,” she said.

Poland is an artist who then became a welder. She started the Latinas Welding Guild just over two years ago. It’s a non-profit that provides barrier-free welding classes to women. It’s open to women with limited education, income and those who speak little English.

“Seeing how many doors were opening up for me, I couldn’t quite see why there weren’t as many women in the field,” said Poland.

Manual labor jobs are often considered jobs only for men. Welding instructor Jonathan Garmany said it doesn’t have to be.

“I think it’s in the best interest of our daughters or granddaughters, even our mothers’ wives,” he said. “Whatever the case may be for them to have the opportunity to enter a field that sometimes has barriers.”

Martin said she’d encouarge any woman wanting to work with her hands to pick up the torch.

“So not only am I gaining skills, I’m getting confidence. I’ve got feedback. Just this network of support,” said Martin.

The Latinas Welding Guild is holding a workshop Saturday for anyone interested in finding out if welding is for them.