Welding Not Just a Man’s Job

2-08-07 Southern Oklahoma technology students took top honors Thursday at the Regional Welding contest in Ardmore. A female student was among the pack… proof that welding is not just a man's business. When she graduated high school, 18-year-old Amanda Barkheimer had dreams of becoming an artist. However, she's trading in her paint brush for a welding torch, and already her skills have captured the eye of her instructor and fellow students. Amanda Barkheimer got caught up in welding on a whim.

Says Barkheimer, “I heard a commercial about welding asking, ‘do you like playing with fire, legally? join welding.’"

So she did. When she moved to Ardmore from Arizona to be with her dad, she enrolled in Mr. Ward's class at Southern Oklahoma Technology Center. In just one semester she has mastered the art of cutting, grinding, and welding. Her instructor says there's room for just about anybody who wants to learn, no matter their gender. Companies in the area welcome women with talent like Amanda's; out of more than 200 welders at VE Enterprises in Springer only 6 are female.

Amanda placed first in her division Thursday; she'll join fellow students Josh May and Newt Langston at the state competition in Tulsa the first week of May.