High School Junior: Women in the Trades event at Capital Region BOCES inspired me to study welding

Capital Region BOCES celebrates
Women in the Trades month

A Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School junior is pursuing a career in welding thanks to her high school counselor and a Women in the Trades event at Capital Region BOCES.

Elizabeth Brundige is enrolled in the Welding & Metal Fabrication Program at the Career & Technical Education Center – Albany Campus and is interested in turning her studies into a career.

“I came to the Women in the Trades event (in March 2023) and that’s why I am here now,” Brundige said. “My counselor had told me about it; I thought it was really cool, so I enrolled in the program.”

The 2024 Women in Trades Panel Discussion featuring successful women in the trades including BOCES graduates will take place on Tuesday, March 5, at 9 a.m., at the Career and Technical Education Center – Albany Campus, located at 925B Watervliet-Shaker Road in Albany.

Each March, Capital Region BOCES honors women who work in the skilled trades by hosting the Capital Region BOCES Celebrates Women in the Trades luncheon. The 2023 event featured six successful women—including two graduates of the Career & Technical Education Center—speaking about their careers and encouraging a room full of young students from a dozen area school districts interested in those careers. Also on hand were women who work in the trades at other businesses, as well as women students currently enrolled in programs for the skilled trades at the Career & Technical Education Center. 

Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Director Jeff Palmer said he is extremely pleased that the 2023 event had such an impact on Elizabeth and other future trades workers.

“This event is all about celebration, inclusivity and empowerment and building the workforce by tapping a traditionally untapped source of skilled labor,” he said. “Success stories like Elizabeth’s show that we are having a notable impact on achieving those goals.”

“Being in the trades there is a stability that you can’t find in other industries. These are jobs that a robot cannot do,” Tori Rodriquez, Account Executive, Haun Welding Supply told the young women on hand for the 2023 event, including Brundige. “There’s no lack of work for people in the trades.”

The New York State School Boards Association recently presented Capital Region BOCES with a Champion of Change Award in recognition for the 2023 luncheon.

Brundige said she was intrigued not only by the creativity and skills required to be a welder, but also by “being in a male-dominated trade.”

“I enjoy welding, I really like the people here at BOCES and I like learning new skills,” she said.

Brundige said welding is completely new to her.

“No one in my family is in welding, I am the first. I told my mom that I wanted to learn welding at BOCES and she said, ‘go for it’ so here I am,” Brundige said.

To read more features involving our future Women in the Trades, visit our Women in the Trades page.