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Leading Ladies


The Manufacturing Institute honors the women who are making a change in manufacturing.

Here’s a statistic that’s probably not surprising: Women make up about 47 percent of the labor force, but only 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce.

A recent survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that 80 percent of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers, and less than a third of the manufacturing workforce are women. Closing the skills gap includes closing the gender gap.

And there’s a part we (parents, educators, government and manufacturers) can all play in changing this dynamic. For its part, the Manufacturing Institute is promoting the role of women in manufacturing through the STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Ahead initiative, which serves to mentor and recognize women while also leading research efforts tackling this important topic.

To that end, the organization will award 130 women with the Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award at a reception in Washington, D.C. next month. The award honors women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C-suite.

“These 130 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” said Jennifer McNelly, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “We chose to honor these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole.”

They are mentors, innovators and leaders who are paving a progressive path for the young women who will follow in their footsteps.

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