Women in Trades: How This Student Plans to Use Welding for a Career in the Film Industry

Kei Rodriguez is set to graduate in May and already knows how she wants to use all she’s learned in CNM’s Welding program
March 19, 2024

For Kei Rodriguez, a career in welding has been in the making since high school. That’s when she first learned how to solder and what ultimately inspired her to enroll in CNM’s Welding program. 

“I’ve always loved working with my hands, and because I had already learned some basic welding skills in high school it was an easy transition to CNM,” she says. 

Even though welding is traditionally male-dominated, Kei quickly found community among the other women enrolled in the program and knows they played a key role in her success. 

“The best part of my college experience has been the friends I’ve made along the way,” she says. “There were times that I didn’t believe in myself, but the other women in my class were always there to encourage me and I am so grateful for their support.”

In addition to her coursework, Kei competes in the annual SkillsUSA competition where students showcase their expertise in fields like electrical wiring, carpentry, and welding. This year, she and two of her other female classmates are participating in the welding sculpture category. 

“I’m so excited to compete alongside my friends and classmates in this year's competition,” she says. “We have all worked so hard on our sculptures, and even if just one of us won it would be so rewarding.”

Kei is set to graduate in May and wants to continue her education by attending blacksmithing school. From there, she would like to work as a welder in the film industry and would eventually like to open her own welding sculpture business. 

Most of all, Kei wants to encourage and support other women who are interested in the trades.

“The best piece of advice I can give is to just do it,” she says. “And if you’re having a hard time believing in yourself, know that I believe in you and that there is nothing you can’t do.”