The P.E.O. Record March-April 2022 (public)

hat happens when you combine creativity, determination and the need to help others with the skill to melt metal? If you are Chapter P, Oregon City, Oregon, you find a welder like Jessica Jones and enable her to achieve her goal

of teaching her craft to others. Jessica is beating the odds at age 44 by using her strengths to forge a career in welding and manufacturing while working towards her teaching credentials in Career Technical Education (CTE) thanks to a P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) grant. Chapter P found this amazing woman through contact with friends at Clackamas Community College, where Jessica is currently a student. For Jessica, the interest in welding was born from a previous career in the automotive industry, mixed with her natural desire to create. Some of her earliest welding projects included transforming auto transmission parts and gears into useful items such as lamps. Welding is only part of the skills needed to work in the manufacturing field. As Jessica explains, “You need to be able to read blueprints, do the math, cut materials and fit it all together. Ultimately, you are building something. I find these skills very much like the sewing processes I use to make clothing.” At age 40, Jessica found herself in a place where she needed to start over after surviving a bad domestic violence situation and eventual divorce. When COVID shut down her welding classes, Jessica got a job in manufacturing and honed her skills in welding and fabrication. After finishing her AA degree in welding, Jessica knew she wanted to not only practice her craft, but teach it as well. This required further schooling to earn certification in CTE, which will lead to a teaching license so she can teach welding at the high school or college level. Not only is Jessica striving to be the best teacher she can be, but sees herself as a role model for other women who desire to succeed in male dominated careers. “I have always worked with men, but I am really the ‘girliest’

From the left: Linda Downs, Jessica Jones, Caren Blass and Carol Stanfield

tomboy you’ll ever meet,” says Jessica. In addition to her job in manufacturing, Jessica is also employed by a private company to teach welding and fabrication. More than ever, Jessica now realizes how impactful a woman her age can be to others who are passionate about careers in technical education fields. Jessica has gained the respect of others in her craft and is also following her dreams; she is already honing her teaching skills in private business until she can earn her high school teaching credentials. Jessica is incredibly grateful for the PCE scholarship program. She said, “This is the time I needed financial assistance the most as funding has been very limited since I finished my associate degree in welding.” Jessica is thankful for the wonderful ladies in Chapter P who continue to encourage her and include her in chapter activities. “I love seeing women cheering other women on,” says Jessica. “That is what I hope to do in my career.”

PCE Turns 50 YEARS OLD This Biennium! During the 2023 P.E.O. year, the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) trustees will award 50 grants worth $5,000 to celebrate this milestone. Local chapters can help celebrate this milestone by donating an extra $50 as a PCE Anniversary Gift . Please include this with your regular PCE donation. Help us celebrate 50 years of “Funding Grants today...for a Brighter Tomorrow.”


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


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