Austin woman forgoes college, inspires others by working trade job

After graduating from high school, Shelby Meyer wasn't sure what career path she wanted to follow.

"I honestly wanted to be something like a graphic designer, fashion designer or something like that, because I loved using the creative side of my mind," Meyer said.

Shelby's father noticed at an early age she excelled in math, so he suggested she go to college and study engineering.

After looking at her options, Shelby decided to go straight into the workforce and work with her dad.

"So, she got on at the CAT assembly plant, the engine assembly plant in Seguin, and found that she loved the mechanical side of it, and then eventually came to work at home because of that, you know, avenue," said Robert Meyer, Shelby's father and field welder at HOLT CAT. "So, she really enjoys the mechanical part of it, you know, even being a girl."

Shelby is a service technician at HOLT CAT, where she works on heavy equipment.

"I can be doing anything from changing out an engine to troubleshooting an engine," Shelby said. "There could be electrical issues in a machine. And I have to find out exactly where the electrical issues are and then change out or whether it be a sensor, a harness."

Robert Meyer says it’s important for parents to let their children explore their options.

"I encourage you to try to figure out what you might be good at first. And I know that there's testing that you can do," Robert said.

Many school districts in central Texas are encouraging students to pursue trade work.

Granger ISD's superintendent advocated for Senate Bill 68 to allow students to visit a professional workplace to explore a career path before they go to college.

And Hutto ISD signed a proclamation declaring Wednesdays "Workforce Wednesdays."

"The fact that there is someone out there telling them, hey, you know, there are trades that you can go into, college doesn't have to be your only resort, military doesn't have to be your only resource," Shelby said. "I love that. That's awesome."