These Women Are Turning To Welding For A Financial Spark

By Susan Tompor
Detroit Free Press

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Women Who Weld” was created in 2014 as a way for women to be trained to be part of an industry that pays well and has jobs to fill. The goal is to address the gender imbalance and skills gap. 

Detroit Free Press

Fredrea Lakes still cannot quite believe how a six-week training program turned into a life-changing, $6-an-hour boost to her pay.

A year ago, she was living in a homeless shelter in Detroit and working minimum wage jobs. Her last check at her old job was just $40 because she worked so few hours.

Now, she’s wearing a welder’s helmet covered in Star Wars stickers, with a sticker of Jimmy Hendrix on the inside, at her full-time job at The Armored Group factory in Dearborn Heights.

“This is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had income wise,” said Lakes, 29, who often worked at retail stores or fast food joints.

Lakes took an intensive training program offered through Women Who Weld, a Detroit-based nonprofit, passed her weld test in October 2018 and soon snagged the welding job at the small factory, which makes armored vehicles for law enforcement, personal protection and others.

Yet making more money is only one step in her journey moving away from living at the Coalition for Temporary Shelter in Detroit toward providing a stable, working-class lifestyle for herself and her 6-year-old son Keivon.

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