Melting the Boundaries

Female Welder Breaks Gender Stereotypes


Kalei Renner

Working Hard: During third hour in Welding I, Cadance Rohrer (22) is found in one of the shop classes’ many welding booths working on one of her projects. “To me, welding is very easy-going as long as you handle the equipment right,” Rohrer said. “That is one of the reasons why we wear masks; people can blind themselves from the light produced by the flames. Along with that, we have to wear gloves so that we don’t burn ourselves while holding hot materials.” Rohrer is currently enrolled in Welding I and is expected to take Welding II either next semester or next year.

Kalei Renner, Staff Reporter

Sophomore Cadance Rohrer has been welding since the beginning of freshman year. Not only does she participate in welding classes, but she also welds and performs similar activities for her family’s business, TH Construction Co. She has been working at her family business since the spring of last year.

“There are many different types of work that I do at TH Construction,” Rohrer said. “Not only do I weld, but I fix things. I fabricate and I replace a lot of parts on random pieces of machinery. Along with that, I build trailers.”

The type of fabrication that Rohrer uses to create her trailers is called “metal fabrication”. According to an article by “The Fabricator,” metal fabrication is the process of building machines and structures from raw metal materials. This process requires people to cut, burn and weld on welding machinery that is then used to form and assemble the final product.

“My trailers are pieces of welding that I am extremely proud of,” Rohrer said. “These trailers are real trailers and they carry up to 2,000 pounds of wire reels. In total, I have made about three of them, and they took me two weeks to make a piece.”

When it comes to welding in school, Rohrer currently partakes in Welding I. Although Rohrer has been welding outside of school for about a year, she did not grow an interest in welding in school until this year. Students in this class are taught the fundamentals of welding. In Welding II students can weld independently; Rohrer will be partaking in Welding II either next semester or next year.

“The class that Cadance is now really isn’t project-based,” welding instructor Tim Gatewood said. “In Welding I, I teach my students about famous welders throughout history. Along with that, I teach them how to run with different materials, different positions and joint types on different welding machines. The main focus of my students in this class is to get better and practice more welding so that they can take on their own projects in Welding II.”

Rohrer is one of the very few female figures in her class. But despite this, female welders are still given the same opportunities as male welders are. For instance, Metropolitan Community College offers a program where students are trained in the basic and advanced skill levels of different welding processes which includes lecture and hands-on lab training under the close supervision of qualified instructors. This program is called The Welding Technology program. 

“Generally, the girls that take welding classes really enjoy them,” Gatewood said. “And usually the girls do better than the guys. Strangely enough, but when you look at someone’s handwriting, that is usually an indicator of how well they weld. It’s all hand-eye coordination and how smooth and steady you can be; the girls seem to excel better at this than the guys do.”

Due to welders being in such high demand, SkillsUSA offers students the opportunity to pursue a career in this field without having to attend a four-year college. SkillsUSA is a national, nonprofit organization that works to ensure a skilled workforce for high school and postsecondary welding students. Along with that, it gives students some serious food for thought-such as how welding will fit into their future. Some things that this organization partakes in involving welding include tours of welding companies and state-wide competitions.

Throughout history, there have been many jobs gender-specific to men only. But in today’s society, not only do women work in the welding industry, but they are also seen holding jobs as police officers, firefighters, military personals and more.