Updated: Aug 16, 2022
written by Tiffany Rae Johnson
Silberia Morales, age 43, a student of the Gladiator Welding Program’s cohort #2 class, is on her way to completion this upcoming fall. Silberia has 10 years of automotive experience, alongside positions in sales and security. She was introduced to Gladiator Welding through her son, who helped out as an assistant instructor for the program during cohort #1.
The idea of welding crossed her mind as “something new.” Silberia works during the day, then straight to Gladiator Welding. Evening classes have made it possible for Silberia to incorporate welding into her weekly routine. The news of her new venture has caught the attention of many co-workers. “I’ve taken more flyers for people who have been asking at work.” Luckily for Silberia, her current employer is interested in the new skills she is acquiring from Gladiator Welding. “My job has no welders, with 5 locations within the company… brainstorming ideas of new possibilities…possibility to travel as needed.”
Being in the automotive industry, a male-dominated line of work, Silberia was not surprised by her co-workers' reactions. She recalls being told, “Oh, so you’re trying to weld.” As she affirms her acquiring skills, “Uh, yes. I am actually in a welding class.”
Her attitude regarding the ordeal is still positive. Silberia does not question what she came to do at Gladiator Welding. “A lot of guys are going to think it’s just for guys. A girl is not going to be able to handle it. Well, handle it.”
The instructors play a critical role in motivating their students such as Silberia. “Kimberly, Greg, and Hackett.” Together they bring the class in unison. “Helpful, answer every question, accommodate a big class,” she describes. The hands-on experience is a “game changer, trust the instructors.” Progress and improvement is shown through trusting the process. For women also searching for something new, Silberia encourages them to “not be discouraged, in the end it will pay off.”
About the Author
Tiffany Rae Johnson was born in 1997, in Fresno, California. She has a passion for boxing. Once a competitor, she now enjoys coaching upcoming talent in the Central Valley. She also enjoys traveling and painting. She thrives on spontaneous adventures and creative ways of viewing her surroundings.
She is a graduate of Clovis Community College, where she received her Associate’s Degree in Kinesiology. After a change in career path, she is now a senior at Fresno State University, where she is receiving her B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism in December 2022. She has experience as an SCCCD Public Relations/Marketing, Fresno State Athletics Strategic Communications/Digital Media, and CMAC TV Community Media intern.