by: Linda Loyd, PhillyNews.com
Samantha Toggas, 26, learned metalsmithing and soldering at Tyler School of Art. After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree, she took a detour and got trained in welding — a skill that has landed her in Philly Shipyard’s apprentice program.
Toggas is one of only two women in the current crop of 75 apprentices. She likes the steadiness and variety in welding, and plans to buy a house in South Kensington.
“I learn something new every day and work around guys who are like my family,” she said. She would like to see more women in shipbuilding careers. “They bring high school students here. I’ve seen a few girls, which is really cool, but there needs to be more. Talk to women, too, about these jobs, not just the guys. That needs to start in middle school and in high school.”
Toggas was introduced Tuesday to Patrick T. Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, who met with an apprentice class and then toured the shipyard.
“In workforce development, we’re looking at a variety of ways to develop the skills that businesses need for the future,” Harker said. “Here, they are going back to a tried-and-true method of bringing people into the workforce.”
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