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Calhoun Community College hosts SweETy welding camp for girls

"It's showing us that we can get out, we can do it just as well as men can," said Usery. "That's a lot of what our speakers talk to us about, us going into a more male dominant industry and trying to get into maintenance."

Posted: Jun 17, 2021 5:41 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 7:08 PM

Calhoun Community College in Decatur is hosting its 15th SWeETy Camp for girls. 

During the three-day camp, high school girls get hands-on experience learning electrical and welding skills. 

Jessa Usery said it's a job most men do, and the camp has shown her she can do it all too. 

"It's showing us that we can get out, we can do it just as well as men can," said Usery. "That's a lot of what our speakers talk to us about, us going into a more male dominant industry and trying to get into maintenance." 

Usery said in a short amount of time, she's learned a lot about electrical work. 

"I didn’t know a lot about that before coming in," said Usery. "I know how to wire a socked, stuff along those lines."

Sierra Frazier said on the last day of camp, they were using a bicycle chain and welding it into a lamp. 

The first day of camp was focused on electrical work and learning how to wire sockets and light switches. 

"The next day we went in and learned some basic welding just to get us used to it, and that’s what we’ve been doing today as well," said Usery.

Not only is the welding camp a hands-on experience, but the girls also get to hear from successful females in the industry. 

Amber Fortenberry, with the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber, said they've had speakers from Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Nucor and ULA. 

"All-female speakers that do these professions and they can relate to the girls and show them they can do it as well," said Fortenberry. 

The camp is also an introduction to college majors in the technology field. 

Calhoun Community College offers a dual enrollment program, where students can get high school and college credits. 

"We had a student who did the summer camp, SWeETy camp with us, she then took high school dual enrollment welding classes and then got a job offer as soon as she graduated high school to start working with Mazda Toyota," said Heath Daws, the Dual Enrollment Advisor at the school. 

Last year the camp was canceled due to the pandemic. In previous years, there have been 25 girls involved. This year, there are 10 participants. 

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