“Within moments of striking my first arc, I loved it,” Samantha Farrugia told Untapped New York about her first welding experience. While pursuing her Masters in City Planning and Design at the University of Michigan, Farrugia joined a 2-hour intro to welding workshop where she found a passion for the craft. But she also found that something was missing. “I wondered why there weren’t women welding in the fabrication lab with me,” she observed. Combining her love of teaching with her previous experience in business development, she founded Women Who Weld, a non-profit organization that teaches women how to weld and find employment in the industry.
Women Who Weld was founded in Detroit in 2014. “Before my master’s program, I had worked in business development, marketing, and advertising at a technology startup in New York City. And, the focus of my master’s program was city planning and economic development. At the same time, I was also a graduate student instructor for a course on Architecture and Sustainability at the University of Michigan and I found that I really enjoyed being an instructor. So I took my interests and experience and merged them with my newfound love of welding to start Women Who Weld,” Farrugia explained to Untapped New York.
Now, the organization has a second home inside MakerSpace NYC at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. This March, the organization will host a Single-Day Introductory Welding Training Workshop on March 18 and a Week-Long Intensive Welding Training Class from March 20-24 in the new space.
Introductory workshops have been held in 14 different cities around the country and over 500 women have taken part in Women Who Weld programs. “Most participants from our intensive welding training programs have gone on to pursue careers in welding as custom and industrial fabricators, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, pipefitters, automotive welders, and welding engineers and instructors injecting millions of dollars into the economy through wages and output,” explains Farrugia.
Farrugia says that the long-term goal of Women Who Weld is to continue to grow, “to keep diversifying the welding workforce, and to continue to advocate for women in the trade! Welding can be an exciting, interesting, and lucrative career path and it’s really cool to help open the door to these opportunities.” You can see all upcoming workshops here.
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