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How to Sell Welding to Gen Z

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Danea Buschkoetter, a 27-year-old lead welding instructor at Cloud County Community College, joined the latest episode of the Gen Z in Manufacturing podcast to discuss her professional welding career in both the field and the classroom. 

Buschkoetter attended welding school to get her certification and later earned a bachelor’s degree in applied technology with an emphasis in manufacturing. She worked as a welder fabricator, a design engineer/draftsman, a project manager and a millwright before becoming a welding instructor, and most recently, a lead instructor. Buschkoetter was also recognized by SME as one of the 2023 “30 Under 30” honorees.

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In this episode, Buschkoetter stressed that she constantly changes her educational approach to keep students engaged and interested in welding. One method she found effective was focusing on project-based learning instead of repetitive tasks. 

"Students nowadays, if they don't see an end result or any progression, they often times struggle to continue," Buschkoetter said. "Or even to get any form of validation — they need that to keep going. More of the project-based learning gets that instant gratification."

Buschkoetter also discussed the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated field. 

"It's been a battle," Buschkoetter said. "When I was going through welding school, I was the only female in my class, and I was having to deal with some sexual harassment. I've been in situations where people will come up asking for help or asking for the supervisor, and I'm like, 'I can help you with that answer.' It just kind of takes them back."

Other topics discussed in the episode include:

  • How universities and trade schools shape Gen Z
  • Misconceptions Gen Z has about welding and manufacturing
  • Can Gen Z handle long work days and seven-day work weeks, or will employers need to adjust
  • Connecting to a Gen Z workforce on a personal level
  • How Gen Z sees the future of welding
  • How employers can encourage more women to get into welding

Click here to view previous episodes of Gen Z in Manufacturing. If you are a member of Gen Z and would like to discuss your experience in the manufacturing industry, please get in touch with Nolan Beilstein, at [email protected].

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