This is an incredible time to be involved in the manufacturing industry. Overall, U.S. manufacturing is experiencing strong growth; supporting about 18 million jobs (considered the world’s eighth-largest economy) and providing above-average salaries. Disappointingly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall, while women represent almost half of the total labor force in the United States (47%), they constitute less than a third of all manufacturing jobs (27%), even with the tremendous opportunities available in the industry.
How do we change this stagnation of women in manufacturing to adoption of manufacturing as a strong, viable career? At the start of the pipeline, the education must start early. Increasing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education participation and proficiency for girls starting in elementary school is a critical first step. Manufacturers must come together to create positive exposure and experiences for women at a young age. When students have some knowledge of the opportunities in manufacturing, their interest in pursuing it as a career rises exponentially.i
This month ACE Metal Crafts Company is pleased to host Camp GADgET (Girls Adventuring in Design, Engineering and Technology), an outstanding, hands-on summer program at Triton College. Each year, more than 30 middle and high school aged young women participate in this 2 week camp. Throughout the program, campers design electronic devices, practice metal fabrication and build robotic mechanisms.
[i] Pamela Kan. Increasing the Ranks of Women in Manufacturing