Earlier this year, we profiled Dulce Benavides, a welding student at San Bernardino Valley College, who won regional and statewide awards in welding contests and talked about being a woman in male-dominated trades. In the above video, we followed up with Benavides recently to talk about the people who supported and inspired her through the classes, like her father and San Bernardino Valley College instructor Dan Comiskey, her mentor who died over the summer, soon after our story was published.
Read more from the original profile: Award-winning female welding student persists through sparks and stereotypes
“Women don’t go into welding because they’re scared,” said Benavides. “When you think about welding, you see all these sparks and pretty much men doing it. I think it discourages women because when you look at it, it looks like a man’s field.” She also cites getting burned by the sparks as another a reason men and women may drop from the welding program.
SBVC Welding Instructor Dan Comiskey agreed with the prevailing image of welding. “I think there’s probably a long-standing ‘it’s a men’s trade’ type of thing. So they may not be attracted to it as much. But companies love to hire women. They get to check off a lot of boxes. There is a lot of opportunity with them.”
The 2017 California Economic Summit wrapped up last week and continued progress on efforts to help train and prepare more than one million skilled workers through the Strong Workforce Program and other efforts in higher education.