LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Dozens of high school girls from across Kentucky took part in the state's first all-girls welding competition Thursday.
Pleasure Ridge Park High School and its business partners hosted the event at the Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVAC union training facility at 2335 Millers Lane in Louisville.
More than 40 female students from school districts across the state took part in the competition, which was so popular that some people had to be turned away. With more than $10,000 in prizes up for grabs, organizers hope the contest will encourage more women to enter the field.
Industry trends indicate that more women are becoming welders. It does require skill and attention-to-detail, but there are abundant opportunities available.
David McCoy, the welding instructor at PRP High School, says females have taken part in his classes in all but one of his 21 of the years he has taught the skill.
For Thursday's competition, students were separated into groups based on their ages. They're tested on basic knowledge, skills and techniques based on how well they complete welding projects and blueprints.
There was definitely a palpable level of excitement at the inaugural event that was just for females.
"I've had a lot of girls compete and do exceptionally well, but they've always had to compete with everybody else," McCoy said. "Now they get a chance to be a little more comfortable and I think it's great, the camaraderie they have with each other."
"I said I like to play with fire -- which is true," said Danielle Roberts, a senior at PRP. "I like to use my mind and skills I've learned from teachers and my dad to make things, even if I don't know how to make it."
A number of PRP's welding students are already in their apprenticeship program, and will be working in their field right after graduation.
The students have this advice for other females interested in the trade: keep working hard and don't let anyone deter you.
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