Monica Porras

Monica Porras

Monica Porras: Longview High School Senior Breaks The Mold

Student Talks Family, Plans To Choose Welding For Her Career

Demand For Welders Soars.

With an aging population, the welding industry is coming up short of welders. More welders are needed to take up old and new positions in the industry. It is important to note, welding jobs are very diverse. They range from manufacturing, construction, military to underwater welding. Most important of all, welding does not require a college degree though someone can go to a junior college and improve on the skill. Even more, a welder can get specialized certifications in junior college. Just like in any other field, the more a welder knows, the better and bigger the earnings.

Vocational Studies Pays

The attraction in welding is growing. The starting pay for students who take the vocation serious in high school can range from $17 to $25 an hour. But that is not all. A welder can increase earnings with under water welding, supervising other employees or have a specialized certificate according to American Welding Society. This is a huge difference when compared to high school graduates who work in fast food places and other type jobs.

Best of all, welding jobs are not hard to find. Texas ranks the number 1 state that hires the most welders. For example, Houston, the Gulf States, North Dakota and Coastal Virginia are hot spots for welders. However, a student in Longview does not have to go that far. Welding jobs abound in the local industries.

Excitement and Adventure

Welding is not limited to the welding or machine shop. According to the American Association of America, “Welders work everywhere…deep beneath the ocean surface to the top of our universe…and many exciting spaces in-between.”

In addition, globalization is good for welders. They can work in oil and non-oil producing countries, in large manufacturing organizations across the border like Canada. The choices are numerous. It depends on the life goals of the welder.

Welding and High Tech

The basics of welding remains the same. However like everything else, technology has greatly influenced the sparks in welding. It is easy to find welding worksites with lasers, robotics, computer programming and other multiplex technologies. Furthermore, the welding industry continues to grow and be relevant in industries. This is the why Longview high school {LHS}encourages their students to go to take welding a step further and go to Kilgore College. Furthering welding in college pay great dividends. Students can learn more, get one or two certifications and climb the welding ladder of success.

Monica Porras

Monica Porras is heeding that advice. She was born and raised in Longview. Monica attended Ware Elementary and Forest Park Middle School. Her sister who was in Art at LHS did some art welding in her class. Though her sister did not like it, Monica knew it was for her.

Welding requires patience, artistic and spatial skills to conceptualize ideas. Besides, Math and science is also needed. Monica has all of the above. She is also physically strong.

When she first talked about going into welding, her father said no because he thought it was about the boys. Monica loves her dad very much. In fact, he is the wind beneath her sails.

“My dad had done a lot for me and my siblings,” she said. She even remembers his hard work and providing for them when they were younger. “When we were little, my Dad will sacrifice to get all we needed so we will not lack anything,” she said. “That is the kind of Dad he is.”

It is not the boys that is sparking her welding education. She wants to earn a good living and her Dad the home he always wanted in the country stocked with horses. “My Dad will like a home with horses in the country and I want to that for him,” said Monica. “This is one of my reasons for being in wielding. I can make a good living and I like welding.” According to Monica, she is not distracted by the boys. She knows why she is in the class and focuses on her studies. She pays attention to detail that sometimes, even the boys ask for her help.

Monica attends Longview First Pentecostal Church and does not were pants (trousers). She remembers when she first tried to wear skirt to welding- it did not work out at all. “This is the only time I wear pants [to welding classes]. I tried to wear skirt to this class but it will not work,” she said. “At first, I felt weird wearing pants because Pentecostals do not wear pants.”

Family and Church Support

Monica is very grateful. She discussed how her church have supported her trips to Youth Congress. “People sponsor me to go to Youth Congress in different states. When I become a welder, I want to contribute to other kids going to Youth Congress also.”

Welding is for every Student.

When Monica first started her welding classes, there was another girl in the class. After three weeks, the other female student dropped the class and Monica became the only girl in the class. Being the only girl did not deter her even though she was not sure what to expect. But as soon as she started welding, she found a talent she was not aware she had. “I never thought I will stand here and be welding,” she said. “I like welding because it opens me up. I feel like myself.”

Going to College

Monica is a senior. She plans to go to Kilgore College and pursue her welding career. She has been in LHS welding classes for 2 years. More than that, she has made A and B. According to her, welding is not hard if the student likes the classes. She is encouraging other students to try welding and maybe they will find the same passion and spark she found forging metals.

Female Welder

The welding profession is mostly made up of men. However, things are changing. Currently men make up 97% and women 3% of welders. Monica said no-one treats her differently because she is a girl. It may be “weird” at first when a girl enrolls in a welding class but once she shows she can do it and make the grades, she will be another welder irrespective of gender.

So far, she has learned to use a torch and cut metals. She learned stick rod welding and uses a wire machine among other things. Sometimes, teachers are surprised to see her coming out of the welding class. She smiles and keeps moving.

According to awo.aws.org, welders work overtime. Please note, the above wages do not include overtime or pay for certified inspectors or supervisors who are in a higher pay brackets.