Nicole Okstad grew up in Proctor, MN. She graduated from Lake Superior College’s Integrated Manufacturing program with a welding diploma and a rapid prototype and design certificate in 2017. “I took a General Metals class at Proctor High School in my senior year. That class sparked my interest and I was hooked. I took a year off after high school and then attended LSC for welding. I could afford LSC and be close to home.”
Women welders are becoming more common in the industry. Okstad now works for Lake Superior College as a college lab assistant. She staffs the Manufacturing Auxiliary Classroom (MAC) trailer, a mobile unit that circulates to area high schools, providing high tech machine tool, welding and automation equipment and instruction.
According to Okstad, the welding field is wide open. “Welding has advanced a lot with technology that is always changing. There’s extremely high demand for welders in many fields and there isn’t a ceiling on pay with the many different specialties of welding work.”
Okstad enjoys going out to the community to share her welding expertise. “I really like working with high school students and talking with them about careers in the trades. It gets them more aware of the good jobs available they can start training for while still in high school. I know I appreciated the help I had from people who pushed me to be who I am today.”