Stafford earns 4 certifications in metal fabrication

| August 14, 2020

Last spring Zoe Stafford became the first girl from the Coshocton County Career Center to earn four certifications in metal fabrication. (Submitted)

Last spring Zoe Stafford became the first girl from the Coshocton County Career Center to earn four certifications in metal fabrication. According to her teacher, Richard Webb, she would have earned five had COVID not closed the schools early.

Stafford graduated this year and plans to use her certifications to find a job instead of going to college right now. “I honestly think welding is the best for me. I’m really good at it. I just need to find a welding job, and I’m all set,” she said.
Stafford said she worked at Organic Technologies during the summer after her junior year and hopes to work there again. COVID has slowed down her ability to put in applications at possible employers.
Stafford said she would prefer an MIG (metal inert gas) or TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding job. “TIG is cool. I like that one,” she said.
While still in school, Stafford used her skills to create a minion, and she has created flowers for her mom, Stacie Bible, out of bolts. “My favorite thing about welding is you can build whatever you like, even in my own back yard if I wanted,” she said.
Racing mini wedges at Hilltop Speedway when she was 10 helped her decide what field she wanted to learn about. “My dad, Jim Stafford, was welding my car,” she said.
Stafford raced trucks and now has a modlite. She said her mom didn’t know what to think when she said she wanted to go into welding. “But when she saw I was actually interested and doing just fine, she was really happy for me,” she said.
Stafford said she never really had any issues with being in a male-dominated class. “Sometimes, the boys got jealous, but I try to help them out too,” she said.
Stafford hopes other girls will see her success and know they can do anything they would like too. “I never actually thought I was going to be able to get all of them until I started to weld, and it was easier than I thought it was going to be. I also had Mr. Webb pushing me left and right because he knew I could. I just want to say thank you to him for everything,” she said.
Stafford’s certifications include stick welding, MIG welding, TIG welding and flux core welding. “You have to take a welding test and send it to a weld place to bend it and see if it will hold up or not,” she said.
“I’ve had several girls who earned three certificates, but Zoe is the first one to earn four,” Webb said. “Zoe set her goals. She wanted to be the first girl to get four, and she worked hard to reach that goal. When I found out she earned them, and called her, she went crazy.”
Webb said when he showed Stafford how to do something, she caught on quickly. “Girls have a better feel for it than boys do, at times,” he said.

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