The Manufacturing Institute (MI), the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), has launched the 35×30 campaign that aims to increase women’s representation in manufacturing to 35% by 2030.
Although women comprise nearly half the U.S. workforce, they represent only 29% of manufacturing jobs. The institute is seeking to attract 500,000 women to manufacturing careers by changing outdated perceptions of the industry and boosting female-led mentorships and collaborations.
“For nine months in a row now, manufacturers have had more than 800,000 open jobs, and we can’t make meaningful progress toward filling those jobs without closing the gender gap,” MI President Carolyn Lee said. “The 35×30 campaign is an unprecedented plan to strengthen our workforce and build the talent pipeline.”
MI’s Women MAKE America Mentoring Program will create a nationwide movement designed to change perceptions by training more than 1,000 female mentors and helping them connect to younger women in the industry and by engaging with women in four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, high schools and middle schools.
Studies show that manufacturers can close the skills gap by 50% by bringing 10% more women into the industry, the institute said
The Arconic Foundation, which partners with nonprofits to create skill-building experiences that have a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, has made a $250,000 sponsorship pledge to the 35×30 project. Programs to be funded as part of 35×30 include a national campaign to change the way people view manufacturing, talks to women students by influential emerging leaders, collaborations with manufacturers on strategies to attract women workers and more.
The “35×30” campaign adds to MI’s ongoing work to bring more women into manufacturing workforce. The STEP Women’s Initiative, launched in 2012, works to foster a 21st century manufacturing workforce by inspiring women in the industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. The initiative includes the STEP Ahead Awards and professional leadership development program, as well as regional STEP Forward events throughout the year.