BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - They make up only five percent of welders in the United States, but women welders are becoming more common in our community. That's due to programs designed specifically for their success, including one at Jefferson State Community College.
It's geared towards single moms and is a partnership with the college and the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham.
There are 10 participants, including 20-year-old Alissa Brown. "There aren't many women who do this kind of work, but when you see yourself as a woman in a male-dominated area its shows women are empowered in more expanded areas of the world."
Brown is seeing herself in a position she never thought she would. "I went through a hard time and I was struggling," she said.
Not knowing what was next, she entered this program in January. "It gives women an opportunity where they may have not had enough money to go to college to further their education. This program really helps them get their foot in the door and show them opportunities that they can take to have a better career, to gain a better life for them and their children," she continued.
"Research has shown that women particularly single mother was the greatest barriers they have to employment and education is child care transportation and the cost of education in itself," said Kay Potter, who works as the director for workforce education at Jefferson State Community College.
This program works to remove those barriers for struggling parents. Tuition, books and a transportation stipend are paid for by the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham.
"We believe and so do our partners that if we can move a woman out of poverty, we help her children and generations to come," continued Potter.
And like any good story, there are always two sides This one takes us inside the halls of Head Start. The St. Clair County Head Start provides instruction for the children and hosts the single mom's every Wednesday.
Amber Moten's daughter attends the Head Start. The mother and daughter duo are learning side-by-side. "We wouldn't be able to do it alone. It's taken a community and we are all sticking it out," said Moten.
Almost six months of hard work is coming to an end. Many of the mothers have already gone out on interviews.
"We are all excited for each other. When someone has an interview, you want them to get a job. We want us all to succeed," continued Moten.
Graduation is next Monday. This is the school's first class of all single moms, who are one step closer to becoming working welders.