Welding. very few places that offer the program.

Welding. What is it? How
was it originated? There are many types of welding and there are various
methods that can be used. Some people may ask: Are more welding programs
necessary in WNY? There are very few places that offer the program. Others ask:
Why is there gender discrepancy in the trades such as welding and what can be
done about it? There are few women in the trades, especially welding. Not only
is welding a very rewarding trade for men, it is also an art and is unceasingly
being treated that way; however, it is very disturbing to say that women are
discriminated against and it should be stopped.

            There is a wide variety to types of welding processes.
There are four main types of welding that I will touch on. They include:
Shielded Metal Arc Welding, also known as SMAW. With this particular type of
welding, the person in charge of welding follows a process of stick welding. “The
stick uses an electric current to form an electrode between the stick and the
metals of your choice that need to be joined. This type of welding is used in the
construction of steel structures and in fabrication to weld iron and mostly
steel. Second, Gas Metal Arc Welding, also known as MIG. This particular type
of welding uses a shielding gas along the wire electrodes which then heats up
the two metals so they can be joined together. This welding process contains
four different types of methods along with it. It has four primary methods of
metal transfer: globular, short circuiting, spray, and pulsed-spray”
(LincolnText). Third, Flux Cored Arc Welding also known as FCAW. This is an
alternative to shield welding (MIG), it has a semi-automatic trigger where the
wire feed is fed out of the tip of the handle. This is more commonly used on
big structures rather than MIG because of the gas that it gives off. It makes
the welds stronger and more durable. When you weld with Flux Core, it is much
easier to control because all you have to do is drag the gun over top of the
desired joint. Lastly, Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding also known as GTAW or TIG. This
is mostly used on stainless steel metals and non-ferrous types. This is also an
arc-welding process where tungsten electrode produces the welds. Out of all the
other types of welding, this to me is the most complicated because there are
many things you must know about it before you just jump right in and start
welding. It is very useful to use on small metals but on the other hand it
takes time to learn and practice it. 

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            The welding process of Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
is not very complicated. It is a “manual arc welding process that uses a
consumable electrode covered with a flux to lay the weld” (Mechanical Blog).
Basically, you have to plates of steel that need to be welded together in the
middle to combine them. You first turn the machine on and make sure that it is
on the correct setting (every machine is different). You insert a 12 inch rod
into your handle that you are holding onto. Every rod is different, they are
either color coded or they have numbers on them. Learning about these were very
tough because there are so many different types. There are ones for ferrous
metals, non-ferrous metals, and rusted metals, sticks that can be used outside
in the snow or rain. Its mind-blowing how many types there are and how many
processes that can be completed with them. Now, once you come close enough to
the plates, the rod will then spark an arc and all you have to do is drag the
rod across the desired part of the two plates. It that simple, SMAW is the
easiest type of welding and it is the most common in the manufacturing portion
of welding. I find it to be the easiest out of them all.

            On the other hand, Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG) is much
more complicated, not just the welding process, it takes a while to figure out
the machine. On every welding machine there will be knobs in which you can
change to get the correct settings to weld one the correct type of steel. If
you want to weld on very thin types of steel then you turn the wire speed and
the voltage down. If you want to weld on very thick types of steel, the welder
setting should be cranked up depending on the thickness of the steel. To me,
MIG is simplest type that a person could learn about. Other than SMAW, it has a
lot more components. Like I said, the knobs in which there are a lot of them
and there are wide varieties of types of wire to be used. Just like SMAW, the
MIG has a hatch on the side of the machine in which you open it so you can see
how it works. There is a spool of wire that I wrapped up onto a feed which is
then fed through the cord leading to the fun in which you hold on to. Holding
the button will result the wire feeder to start turning that the gun to pull
the wire feed out through the tip. There are different types of MIG wires also,
just like SMAW. There are ones for ferrous and non-ferrous, just like SMAW. But
in my opinion this is my favorite type of welding process that is used by many.
It is very simple to do and you can learn very fast from it just like SMAW.

            The most similar type of welding to MIG is Flux Cored Arc
Welding (FCAW). Their processes are exactly the same but there is a different
wire type. This specific wire has a coating around it called Flux. Flux is a
shield in which when you’re laying a bead it is followed by a hot lump of coal
kind of. But its grey, it is a protective sealer to ensure that your weld is
safe from the outside environment so it won’t interfere with your weld. This is
the highest temp welding processes that I have ever used, I always try to
prepare myself and my body from burns. After you finish welding you have to
take a chisel or a chipper to chip off the slag. You can tell if the weld went
good if the slag is very easy to come off, this means that the weld is
solidified and can’t break unless it needs to be. “FCAW requires no shielding
gas. This is made possible by the flux core in the tubular consumable
electrode. However, the core contains more than just flux, it also contains
various ingredients that when exposed to the high temperatures of welding
generate a shielding gas for protecting the arc” (Wiki). These temperatures
vary from 6,000 degrees to 8,000 degrees depending on the settings your machine
is set at.

            Now, there has been controversial point of views toward
the amount of schools that offer the trade of welding. Not only welding but the
overall portion of trades in WNY. Other than outside of the major cities like
Buffalo or Rochester, there are very few vocational schools like BOCES that can
offer these types of courses. The ones that say that we don’t need new schools
says “The world is full of 60-year-olds who
regret not protecting their health when they were younger. And so it is with
welders. It’s well-documented that many long-term health problems associated
with the profession are preventable. But, because the causes and incremental
effects can be invisible, literally, they tend to be ignored, that is until
welders grow older and the impact of that disregard can be ignored no longer.
It turns out those fumes inhaled through the years may cause serious medical
complications. Those noises that didn’t seem so loud actually were, potentially
destroying your ability to hear. The parts that didn’t seem so heavy may
trigger shoulder problems. The constant kneeling can lead to knee troubles. All
too often seemingly insignificant job-related activities can compound and lead
to illness in later years. The good news is you can reduce the risk of these
ailments significantly by forcing yourself to make a few simple changes to your
daily routine” (Fabricator). This shows that these problems can be prevented
when at a young age. There are certain things that you cannot stop but can be
prevented from in the long run of your life. Eye damage from the light and
punctured lungs from all of the gases you breathe in. It’s actually career and technical education—something
they’ve all said America’s schools need in order to better prepare graduates
for the economy. President Trump even praised Germany’s approach to
vocational education recently. Trump’s budget actually cuts CTE
funding, but, at least in theory, there’s wide support across the ideological
spectrum for helping more students learn career-specific skills in high school.
Yet new international research points to a significant downside of such
programs: Students may benefit early in their careers, but are harmed later in
life as the economy changes and they lack the general skills necessary to
adapt. The study raises concern about the trade-offs that could come with
significantly expanding career and technical training in the United States—at
least any version that substitutes for broad knowledge and skills transferable
across jobs. This is why there is why there is controversy between whether
schools should off the trades, especially welding.

and women. What is the difference? Proven facts show that men are more likely
to be offered with a job in the trades, welding preferred. “Vanessa
Casillas has worked as a bricklayer for 10 years. But when she stopped by a job
site recently looking for work, she said the foreman’s right-hand man looked
skeptically at her slender frame and red nail polish. “I was like, these are
no-chip,” Casillas, 34, said, drawing a burst of laughter from about a
dozen fellow tradeswomen gathered for a roundtable discussion last week with
Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu, to mark National Equal Pay Day. As members of
Chicago Women in Trades, a nonprofit that trains women for high-paying, skilled
jobs traditionally held by men, Casillas and her peers have worked to close
their own wage gap, with many making well over $40 an hour as welders,
electricians, pipe fitters, plumbers, ironworkers, carpenters and other
union-backed tool-wielders. But they say barriers to entry and advancement have
kept their numbers low” (Chicago-Tribune). This shows that Vanessa worked very
hard and got paid a lot because of the amount of effort she put into her job.
This to say, women have a fifty percent chance to make it into the trades. They
have a chance to show what they are really made of and do good at their
position. Now, in my opinion, I believe women are very capable to do as many
things as men can do. There are a lot of people who don’t believe this but I
do, just because men and women are different sexes doesn’t mean anything. Some
say “women work too slow for me” or “women are not capable to do the jobs that
I do”. They can do whatever a male does in the trades. I’ve seen women being
inspectors, the biggest job in a welding shop. They do just fine. “Currently
there is still much work to be done to achieve fair representation of women in
the trades with women only representing 3% of the workforce and 7% of
apprentices. Nicole Ferrer, executive director of Apprenticeship &
Nontraditional Employment for Women, a not-for-profit agency in Renton that
prepares women for apprenticeships in the trades weighs in “women often think
they’re not strong enough or lack the background to work in the trades. We try
to get them to see how what they’re doing now transfers into jobs in the
construction industry. A woman who’s working as a waitress is carrying 50 pound
trays all day.” We also know that it is not women who are the major barrier to
equal opportunity in the trades but the systems that govern the trade industry
and the societal ideas we all hold about women. As a City we are committed to creating
meaningful shift by addressing larger systems and ideas that develop the
prevailing yet false notion that women aren’t mean for the trades” (Women of
the Trades). This article means a lot to me, people say women are only 3% of
the workers within the trades. This is untrue, where I work, there are women
running machines that most people in the shop do not know how to run. And what
does that tell us? Women are very capable to work in the trades and perform
tasks just like us. “HERE IS A STARTLING FACT: The most common job for a woman
today is the same as it was 50 years ago: secretary. Defying the odds of a desk
job and picking up power tools instead, women in trades are daring the rest of
us to confront stereotypes that are still holding women back. The opportunities
for women especially become even more apparent when we look at the jobs women
are most likely to have. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the
median weekly income of union construction workers substantially exceeds
sixteen out of the twenty most common occupations for women. But
economic advantages aside, tradeswomen just love the challenge and satisfaction
of building things. They love working with tools and materials, they love
working outside, and they love pointing to a skyscraper or a bridge and being
able to say, “I built that.” And yes, they love their paycheck. But
still, a career in the trades is something that girls and young women are never
led to consider. Because if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. And a hard hatted
woman is hard to see” (HardHattedWomen). I want to use Rosie the Riveter for an
example. Do you remember the cold war? During that time period, men and women
were overseas fighting for our country while wives and children stay home and
prepare for the arrival for the military to return home. Women were the icons
in that time period, they were building things that men were building before
they went overseas, they were supplying for their children, and they worked on
roads and highways just like men would. And was there a difference in the
outcome of quality? No, there wasn’t. This just goes to show that women can do
anything men can do.

            Now if I may ask. What is welding?
Why is there not as much of a push to make new schools for kids to go to, to
learn the many jobs in the trades, to succeed in life. Why is there gender
discrepancy in the trades. There’s no reason for it because men and women are
completely alike and have many ways to succeed in life. Not only welding in
particular, the trades are very rewarding but it takes time and effort to learn
all about it.






Ladd, Michael. “The invisible risks of welding.” The Fabricator – A publication of

the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Intl., 10 July 2007,



Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia.
“Women in trades make good money, but getting in can be

tough.” Chicagotribune.com,
4 May 2015



“Women in the
Trades.” Women in the Trades – CivilRights,







Barnum, Matt. “The
Downside to Career and Technical Education.” The Atlantic,

Media Company, 6 June 2017,www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/06/the-downside-to-career-and-technical-education/529161/.


“4 Popular Types of
Welding Procedures.” Lincoln Tech News Blog, 23 June