Metallica gives Wichita women a chance in male-dominated fields

WICHITA, Kan.--- A grant from an unlikely source is putting more women into male dominated fields.
The Metallica Scholars – Women in Manufacturing Program provides financial help for women to get an education in those fields.

This spring several Wichita women had the chance to change their lives thanks to WSU Tech and a grant from the band Metallica.

Metallica scholar and welder, Sarah Allen said, "a lot of guys think that women should be in the office doing office jobs."

Sarah Allen is one of 32 women who's received manufacturing training through the Metallica Scholarship at WSU Tech.

"It's just really exciting, it's something new every day that we get to build," said Allen. "I never thought i'd be able to build anything. But I can build it, I can weld it together, I can fix stuff if I need to fix something. "

Allen works for George Martinez, co-owner of JR Custom Metal Products, Inc.

Martinez said, "these have always been male dominated jobs but women are more than capable of doing this."

"People are like 'Woah, you're a welder? You're a girl.' And I'm like 'Yeah I'm a welder, I weld every day,'" said Allen.

Martinez said, "they actually have a better steadier hand and they pay attention to detail, there's a lot of upside to it."

Integrating the industrial workplace gives men the chance to work with women for the first time in their careers, but it also gives these women a new sense of independence.

"I get to pay bills, I've definitely learned how to work hard," said Allen. "We were working out here when it was 105 degrees outside over the summer, sweat dripping down our backs, and it's just amazing because you just push yourself."

And because of the Metallica scholars, JR Custom Metal Products now employs seven women welders out of it's 50 plus welders.