Austin woman’s decision to skip college inspires others through trade job success

AUSTIN, Texas – Upon completion of her high school education, Shelby Meyer found herself at a crossroads, unsure of the career path to embark upon. Reflecting on her passion for utilizing the creative side of her mind, Meyer initially aspired to pursue a career as a graphic or fashion designer. However, her father, recognizing her exceptional mathematical skills from a young age, suggested that she consider studying engineering in college.

After carefully considering her options, Meyer made the decision to forgo higher education and instead join the workforce, working alongside her father. She secured a position at the CAT assembly plant in Seguin, where engine assembly takes place. It was during this time that she discovered her love for the mechanical aspect of the job, ultimately leading her to work from home. Robert Meyer, Shelby’s father and a field welder at HOLT CAT, expressed his pride in her choice, emphasizing her enjoyment of the mechanical side, even as a woman.

Currently, Shelby serves as a service technician at HOLT CAT, specializing in heavy equipment. Her responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks, from the replacement of engines to troubleshooting and resolving electrical issues within machines. Shelby spoke about her role, stating, “I have to pinpoint the exact location of any electrical problems and replace components, such as sensors or harnesses.”

Robert Meyer emphasized the importance of allowing children to explore various career options and discover their strengths. He encouraged parents to assist their children in identifying their potential areas of expertise, suggesting the utilization of assessment tests. In central Texas, many school districts are actively promoting trade work as a viable career path for students. Granger Independent School District’s superintendent advocated for Senate Bill 68, enabling students to visit professional workplaces and gain exposure to different career fields before committing to college.

Furthermore, Hutto Independent School District has declared Wednesdays as “Workforce Wednesdays,” fostering an environment that highlights the significance of trade work. Shelby expressed her appreciation for the support and guidance provided by these initiatives, stating, “It’s fantastic to have someone telling them that there are alternative career paths to pursue, aside from college or the military. I love that. It’s truly remarkable.”

Shelby Meyer’s journey serves as a testament to the value of exploring various career options and harnessing individual strengths. Her decision to prioritize her passion for mechanics has proven to be a fulfilling and rewarding choice, highlighting the importance of encouraging students to consider trade work as a viable and gratifying career path.

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