Only 5% of women make up the welding industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

One woman has created her own workshop to not only teach women to try something new but pave the way for more women to make their own mark.

“I had the privilege of working with some young women at Edison Technical High School,” professional metal sculptor Stacey Mrva said. “I came in to do a kind of a lecture and it turned into us working on a project together. We built a bench together and it was all girls night through 12th graders. And just the energy in the room and the way they were cheering each other on, it was just it was pretty powerful. And I thought, well, it'd be really fun to be able to recreate that energy in a space where women can just come and try something and not feel intimidated.”

Mrva hopes to torch the glass ceiling in a male-dominated industry.

“[The number of women in the welding industry] is going up,” Mrva said. “But I think showing women that they can do this, there's absolutely no reason why you can't. You know, women have the dexterity and the patience that welding really needs. We're not man-haters here by any means. But it's just to me, it feels like a much safer space to just have it surrounded by women learning how to do something they never thought that they could do.”

Mrva creates workshops for women to not only try something new, but to give a safe space of motivation and support.

“We need more women just doing all sorts of things, the trades,” participant Leah Houghtaling said. “I think a lot of women get pushed behind a desk or somewhere. And there is nothing wrong with that. But we need to know how to be dirty. And I mean, like physically dirty. How hard to work with our bodies in a way that I think a lot of women are not accustomed to doing.”

Welding not only brings two pieces of metal together, but these women as well.

“Not that you're going to become a welder after this,” Mrva said. “It's just doing something you've never done before and being able to be creative and to be around other women that are like-minded. Making those connections, sparking connections with other women is really what it's all about here.”

They are learning hands-on the grace and grit of the art of welding.

“I'm totally going to be welding in the future, there's no doubt about it,” Houghtaling said.

"I love it. I think it's empowering to be like ‘I made this.’ And then you get to go on with it. It's a trophy. I've never gotten a trophy in my entire life. It’s a tulip trophy.”

It is paving the way for more women to forge forward and make their mark.

“That nervousness that you feel, look at it as more as excitement,” Mrva said. “This isn't something to be afraid of. And when you've got someone standing next to you who's saying you got this, that's what empowering other women is all about, it’s just saying, you can do this there’s no reason why you can’t.”