Bianca Wilson works in the Women in Welding program at Danville Community College.

Women interested in a game-changing career as a welder can enroll in Danville Community College’s program specifically designed for them and make $60,000 annually at Newport News Shipbuilding after graduation.

Brian Jackson, vice president of workforce services at Danville Community College, explained welding as a process that joins two elements together with a firm connection. It is used in modern construction such as skyscrapers, airplanes, cars and ships.

There were two deciding factors to bring the Women in Welding program to DCC.

“The first was a request from Newport News Shipyard that women were needed in the shipyard,” he said. “Then I saw the opportunities women had in welding in the area, but it was very limited.”

However, he said he saw women could make a good livable wage with a career in welding.

Jackson said nine women started the program. DCC wanted a small class size so each individual could get personalized attention from the welding instructor.

He said classes were held on Saturdays and Sundays because he and other staff members wanted the women to get a career-changing opportunity and still be able to work Monday through Friday at their current job.

“It was a perfect fit because it gave us the ability to crunch in as many weeks as we could, eight hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays,” Jackson said. “I was able to get a lot of information out there and these women in the workforce in a rapid time.”

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