SOCC encourages women in manufacturing industry

Girls Welding
Many may think of manufacturing as a masculine profession, but 30 Marshfield females are changing the demographics at MHS.

Girls from all over the Oregon South Coast were invited to participate in Southwestern Oregon Community College’s (SOCC) “The Artistic Side of Welding” workshop. According to manufacturing teacher Tom Hull, the one day class was aimed toward high school aged girls who were interested in beginning or pursuing a certificate in manufacturing.

“The purpose of the class was to interest more girls in welding,” Hull said. “More ladies need to know that these classes are open to them too.”

The free workshop, funded by a Perkins grant that has made the program possible for the past few years, was held on March 21. Five of the 30 females who are currently enrolled in manufacturing classes at MHS and about 30 female students from other schools, such as Bandon, North Bend and Gold Beach high schools, attended the class. While the class was open to all female students, some of the more experienced manufacturing students chose not to attend the class, such as senior Sasha Strain.

“The class was aimed towards people who were beginning and teaching them the basics,” Strain said. “I didn’t go but I think it’s great for them to encourage more girls to join manufacturing.”

One of the students who attended the workshop was junior Emily Sigloh. She said she enjoyed the workshop and was excited to learn from new people.

“It’s cool to have the opportunity to do things like this outside of the classroom,” Sigloh said. “It was a lot of fun and everyone was super nice.”

Both Strain and Hull agreed it would be a good idea for younger female students to consider joining the manufacturing program, as the girls tend to generally do better in the class than the boys.

“Eighth graders should get involved. After all, they do get an extra year in high school to practice and gain experience,” Strain said.

When Hull began teaching, there were no girls enrolled in his manufacturing classes. Over the years, the number has slowly but steadily increased. He said the change is due to programs such as the SOCC workshop.

“We currently have about 30 girls, which is still a minority considering the 150 students I teach, but it’s a lot more than we’ve had in some of the past years,” Hull said.

According to Hull, these types of classes are beneficial to anyone who may not want to go the traditional college route or just want to try something new.

“At the end of the day, if one person became interested in pursuing this, the event was a success,” Hull said.