A Woman’s Perspective into a MANufacturing World


Nigisti HiSmith, Contributing Writer

As Valencia celebrates its 50th year it is on target to impact the lives of more students than ever. The Valencia Voice explored the courageous paths of three women who decided to explore a career path less traveled. All three ladies have graduated from Valencia’s Advance Manufacturing Center in Osceola County within the past year and are now working in MANufacturing careers. As they say, it’s not just a man’s world. It’s theirs too.

On March 24, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos toured the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Osceola County and sat down in a roundtable discussion with several recent graduates. The Advanced Manufacturing Training Center is designed to immerse students in the world of manufacturing through hands-on manufacturing life experiences. Its mission is to prepare the workforce for careers in Advanced Manufacturing by offering attractive training and educational career pathways leading to high skill high wage employment. Recruiter Chris LeGoullion informed the Valencia Voice that there have been 20 women who have successfully completed the Manufacturing program. Three of which were women who discussed their journey and outcome into the manufacturing industry.

Katie Allen graduated with two certificates on June 28, 2016. In her previous role as a server she was making a little more than $5 an hour. Since obtaining her certificates she became employed with Lockheed Martin as an Operator. Katie stated during the roundtable, “It’s not as tough as what people always think it is. Everyone comes to us with open arms…. There’s really no stigma that a woman can’t do it anymore.” She later told the Valencia Voice, “I like the saying, anything a guy can do a woman can do better but… I really would like to see more women doing it.”

Carly Faren a recent graduate stated what many students may have experienced, “I tried so many different things. Finally, I saw the program at Valencia and I thought you know what? None of these have worked for me, maybe I’ll try this! I came with zero experience… I didn’t know anything…. And before I left here I had a job lined up….It just never would have happened without a program like this”.

Faren earned four certifications in 2016 and prior to starting her program she was a cashier with an AS Degree in Arts. Since graduating, she became employed as a Welder/Assembler making more than $15 an hour. She states, “I’m the only woman welder at my place of work right now (but) everyone is very supportive….I think there could be more women in it, I just think that people need to open their minds a little bit more to maybe doing something that isn’t so traditional.”

Keyanna Fountain graduated in September of 2016. During the roundtable she filled the room with laughter after stating, “I’d do it for a hobby, and so to get paid for it is a bonus!” Then she states, “It’s awesome to walk into work every day with a smile on your face. Working with my hands is what I like to do. I actually love what I do! I can’t stop saying that”. She told the Valencia Voice, “As a woman in manufacturing I really thought it would be a lot harder. It’s really not a gender base workforce.”

Manufacturing is just like any other field filled with fulfillment, opportunity, and salary increases. Valencia offers an accelerated program where students can earn a certificate in as little as five weeks! To explore the possibilities of a manufacturing career, contact an academic adviser today.