Sparks flew as welding machines hummed as 14 high school aged girls attending a Girls Can Camp were learning the basics of welding at the Shelby County College and Career Center in Columbiana, Alabama.
Girls Can Camps are organized by Alabama Power and supported by partners including the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute and Go Build Alabama. The annual camps are designed to introduce students to a variety of trades such as drafting, carpentry, welding and electrical work by giving them hands on training.
Tom McNeal a Workforce Development Specialist with Alabama Power asked the participants who was a little nervous about learning to weld, "a few raised their hands" he said. "Even more hands went up when asked if this was the first time any of them had a chance to weld", he said.
Open to girls in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades they are paired with professionals who can give them a real world look into the trade they are learning about in the class. Welders from Alabama Powers E.C. Gaston Steam Plant in nearby Wilsonville helped many of the girls weld for the first time.
"You can't see a thing until you start to weld", said Ketelyn Bevard after completing her first project. "I learned you have to be very careful and think about what you want to do before you start" she said.
McNeal said instructors are often surprised with how quickly projects are completed.
"From my experience with these camps the girls listen, pay attention to details and work together as a team", he said. Earlier in the week the group finished a carpentry project about 2 hours ahead of schedule.
Ambry Martin was attending her second year at the camp, "We built a table then drilled a hole in it to make a built in lamp". She said that drafting was something that she didn't know very much about but found she liked it.
"With proper instruction and a willingness to learn I think these girls will walk away with a boost to their self-confidence" said McNeal about some of the non-traditional career options available to them.
This post was originally published here: Camp Introduces Girls To Welding, Carpentry, Drafting And Electrical Work
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