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Forging Her Future 

For most young women, graduating from high school is a significant milestone. Danielle Pakes, achieved that milestone, while earning her welding diploma, and becoming a new mother – all in the same year. 

Danielle was first introduced to welding by accident. However, she quickly discovered she liked welding, and had a knack for it. By her junior year, she had taken every welding class available at her high school. That’s when she turned to Blackhawk Technical College. 

“At that time I was still living on the family farm – milking cows, feeding calves, helping them whenever they needed help. And I had just became a mom.” 

How was her experience at Blackhawk Tech? “The teachers were phenomenal. They brought awesome things to the table to teach. And the students were really welcoming.” 

As a graduate of the BTC Welding program, Danielle had experience in welding structural steel, aluminum, stainless steel and other metals, as well as the ability read blueprints, and create welding sketches and layouts. Just two days after receiving her high school diploma, she landed her first job with J.P. Cullen & Sons, a Janesville construction firm. 

Now she’s building a strong future for her and her son. “It’s an amazing feeling. I’m a single mom, and to be providing [for] him just for doing something I like is really great.”