FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – 94% percent of the welders in the United States are men, a big reason many young women are being encouraged to take welding courses in high school.

A welding competition in Fresno gave female students an opportunity to showcase their skills and earn scholarship money.

“I think that it’s owed to them,” said CTEC welding instructor Jacob Cavazos. “I think the amount of work that they’ve been putting in I wanted to lay out a platform for them to showcase their abilities.”

They came from seven different Fresno County high schools and gathered at CTEC for the competition. After receiving the rules and guidelines for the contest, they were ready to start the work.

The young women are all enrolled in welding programs at their high schools and know their craft.

“Once I got the first weld down I was like ‘ok, I can do this.’ I just needed to breathe through it but other than that it was just a little stressful,” said welding student Emily Crawford.

The students would be judged on their ability to follow welding procedures and meet certain specifications and their work meeting standards set by the American Welding Society. Members were on hand to help judge the competition.

The American Welding Society was a partner in this event and provided $1,000 in scholarships to the top two winners.