Welding graduate finds dream job close to home

[BEAVER, W.Va.] Pocahontas County resident Priscilla Grimes was interested in education that would lead to employment. As her senior year of high school approached she considered becoming a lawyer or a veterinarian, but was hesitant because of the time that it would take to complete the programs. When Stephen Bowyer, New River Community and Technical College visiting instructional specialist, came to her high school to promote the college’s welding programs, her plans changed.

“I had started using my dad’s welding equipment when I was 8 years-old and that experience sparked my interest,” Grimes explained. “I’d looked at another welding program, but it was further away. After I visited New River CTC’s Greenbrier Valley Welding Lab, I fell in love with the facility and it was so much closer to home.”

Grimes completed the Associate of Applied Science in Welding degree in May 2017 and is working at the Green Bank Observatory as a welder and machinist.

“I had a lot of people question why I was going into welding. People would say, ‘Why don’t you go into nursing?’ They meant well because there’s a need for nurses, and they didn’t think about women being welders or positions being available. But I was passionate about welding,” Grimes said. “And I’ve been pretty lucky.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth in the field of welding, but few women are pursuing the field. According to 2014 data, less than 5% of welding positions in the U.S. are held by women.

Grimes grew up in Pocahontas County on her parent’s black angus cattle farm, and the position at Green Bank Observatory is only minutes from her home.

New River CTC offers both a certificate of applied science and an associate of applied science in welding. For information on New River CTC’s welding programs, contact Welding Instructional Specialist Brad Veneri at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 304-929-3301.
For information on admissions and the programs offered at New River CTC, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 866-349-3739.
New River Community and Technical College serves nine counties in southeastern West Virginia from the Greenbrier Valley Campus (Lewisburg), Mercer County Campus (Princeton), Nicholas County Campus (Summersville) and Raleigh County Campus (Beaver/Beckley).

Photo caption: Priscilla Grimes with Board of Governors Vice Chair Al Martine (left) and College President Dr. L. Marshall Washington (right) at New River Community and Technical College’s 2017 Commencement Ceremony on May 13, 2017 at the Chuck Mathena Center, Princeton.


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