June 25, 2020
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla— Women have been passed the torch at the Walton County Jail.
Four inmates have been selected to participate in the facility’s first-ever all-female welding class provided in partnership with Northwest Florida State College.
The welding program at the jail has seen nine graduating classes for the six-week course. But, before the all-female crew, the program has consisted of men only. But now women are under the helmet.
“Because of our vetting process and the ratio of men to women we were limited to just having men participate,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “But we pushed to make this happen and have four women who qualify – filling up the slots for the course.”
The women will learn various types of welding including flux core, stick, and tig welding. Upon completion of the course, all will be provided an opportunity to pass the American Welding Society certification test.
“We’re thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity,” said Adkinson. “We must continue our mission to offer opportunities for incarcerated members of our community to recover and reduce recidivism.”
Northwest Florida State College Director of Professional and Workforce Training has offered graduates of the program an opportunity to apply their certificate towards 400 contact hours required for the flux core welding course if they choose to attend the college in Niceville.
The women have begun their third week of the course and are on their way to a successful finish.