Recognizing the contributions women are making to the manufacturing industry is important to underscore achievement but is also necessary to encourage more women to enter the field. While women comprise almost half of the U.S. labor force, they represent less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce.
STEP Women's Initiative
To help even things out The Manufacturing Institute (MI), the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers created a program in 2012 called the STEP Women’s Initiative. In addition to its award program, which honors women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers from the factory floor to the C-suite, there is a professional leadership development program, as well as regional STEP Forward events throughout the year.
The program’s objective is to “foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by elevating and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership. as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation.”
Earlier last month,130 award recipients were honored at an in-person reception and gala in Washington, D.C.
Attracting Women to Career in Manufacturing
“The 2021 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leader Awards reinforce the exciting career opportunities available in manufacturing and help inspire more women to pursue these careers,” said 2021 STEP Ahead Chair and Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Global Supply Chain Officer Kathy Wengel, said in a statement. “As an industry, we are always working to do more to bring more women into manufacturing and encourage their innovative ideas and transformative leadership.”
The goal of the award is also to motivate alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. “We honor these manufacturing leaders with the STEP Ahead Awards, elevating their success and providing them a platform to inspire the next generation of women manufacturing leaders,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee, in a statement. “They’ll play a crucial role in bringing more talented, motivated women into modern manufacturing. We’re confident these Honorees will serve as living proof that women can dare to dream of a fulfilling, rewarding career in the industry.”
Note: Photos are courtesy of The National Assoc. of Manufacturers