Laura Gilmore, Machinist, Steelhead Metal Corp., www.steelheadmetal.com
A Boise, Idaho native, Gilmore studied at Idaho State University in Pocatello and earned her Associate of Applied Science for Machine Tool Technology at the College of Western Idaho in Nampa. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
When did you become interested about a career in manufacturing?
My grandfather was a machinist, and he was a machining instructor at Idaho State University from 1976 to 1982. Although I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, I am getting to know him through his tools; my father passed down to me my grandfather's machinist toolbox.
It is also very important to me to be financially independent. Within two years of beginning my machining career journey, I was gainfully employed in industry… The Department of Labor predicts that there will be close to 2 million new machining related jobs available in the next 10 years.
How did you get involved with SkillsUSA, and what have some of your most memorable experiences from the program been?
I heard about SkillsUSA at Idaho State University, where the machining program had a SkillsUSA team that I wanted to join. Last year I competed at the first ever CNC Technician event at the SkillsUSA National Championships. I had so much fun competing that I was eager to go again this year. This year I competed at CNC Turning Specialist for the College of Western Idaho. It has been an honor to represent Idaho at the National Championships two years in a row.
I won the bronze medal for CNC Turning Specialist (in June in Louisville, Kentucky). I was the only woman on the podium for any of the CNC competitions, and I was also the only West coast competitor to medal in my event. The CNC Turning Specialist competition was held on my birthday this year. I do not think I will soon forget the experience. I had a blast competing.
For certain careers social media can show you what the process looks like. It gives you the opportunity to see the fun and exciting parts of my career. Because my Instragram is available to a diverse audience, some of whom may not be acquainted with machining, I am able to promote and encourage more young people, especially young women, to consider manufacturing careers.