Shaker High School junior: ‘Welding makes me happy’

SHS Junior Gianna Schillinger is quite concise when asked about why she enrolled in the Welding & Metal Fabrication program at Capital Region BOCES – welding makes her happy.

Having grown up with a father who works in construction, Schillinger said she spent a lot of time with him and saw the various avenues of entering the industry.

“Welding intrigued me, and I just wanted to learn more about welding, so when I had the opportunity to enroll at BOCES to learn the trade, I did,” she said. “I enjoy coming here and learning new ways to weld every day and just building myself up.”

Enamored with the options a career in welding can afford someone, Schillinger is pursuing a profession that, according to federal statistics for 2020, only 4 percent of women are currently working in.

“I am not worried about a male dominated industry, I will just show them that whatever I put my mind to, I can do,” she said.

March is National Women in The Trades Month and throughout the month Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School is shining a spotlight on women in the trades who are challenging stereotypes and building solid futures through their education at Capital Region BOCES.

Schillinger said she plans to forge a career on the construction side of the industry and her daily lab and classroom time at BOCES “is the most fulfilling part of my day.”

Schillinger is one of about 75 students enrolled in the Welding and Metal Fabrication program this school year at Capital Region BOCES. Only a handful of those students identify as female.

The program prepares approximately students with the skills they need to either directly enter the workforce or expand their skills in a college or trade school. During the two-year program that is taught in two state-of-the-art labs, students learn American Welding Society standards and earn certifications that prepare them for a career in the welding industry.