The Manufacturing Institute has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to change young minds about modern manufacturing careers. Through the Institute’s national initiative, STEP Ahead—aimed at increasing the visibility of female role models in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers—the Institute has been able to spotlight over 900 outstanding female industry role models to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in manufacturing. STEP Ahead Alumnae are encouraged to participate in this initiative and volunteer with their local Boys & Girls Club to make a difference in the lives of America’s youth and help them reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Starting February 1, a national competition for all K-12 girls enrolled in a Boys & Girls Club will begin. The competition aims to instill a curiosity in manufacturing careers and capture the creativity and excitement of our future surrounding the vast opportunities available in manufacturing.

Note: This competition is intended for girls only, to help empower young women to believe in and express their abilities. We recommend girls that are interested in STEM participate in the competition.

The competition gives contestants a chance to meet other girls interested in STEM as well as connect them with 130 women mentors from across the U.S. Three winners will be selected from this nationwide competition and will be invited on an all-inclusive trip to Washington, D.C., accompanied by a parent or guardian, in April 2020 to attend the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards. Contestant winners may also be invited on stage at the STEP Ahead development program in recognition of their accomplishment.


To participate in this nationwide competition, individuals must submit a content piece that adheres to the theme “Creating a Better Future for the World” The contest is open for entries until February 29, 2020 Eastern Time (ET), so here’s some information to help get your Club members started:

1. Download or print the entry form:

2. Create your invention:

a. Club members may create their entries using any materials or medium they want – from essays, to videos, to markers and paint.

3. Write:

a. Inventor’s Statement – Club members must tell us what they have created and how it will make the world a better place.

b. Fill out the rest of the required information and sign the entry form.

4. Submit

a. Club Directors must collect completed entries and entry forms from Club members and submit via email to partnerships@bgca.org.

b. If the entry is an artist submission, please scan or take a photograph and attach it to your submission and entry form.

For more information please visit the “How to Enter” page.


What You Should Know About Modern Manufacturing

Create your own future and shape the world - Modern manufacturing offers a chance to design and build the future, whether it’s inventing the latest aircraft or automobile, a lifesaving medicine or a new way to harness power. A manufacturing career allows you to combine practical problem-solving and creativity with exciting new technology, such as 3-D printing, robotics and computer-aided design, to shape and build a better tomorrow. 

Use Advanced Skills to make the next big thing – In modern manufacturing, you get the chance to lead and collaborate with others early on, to grow through the development of lifelong, invaluable skills and the opportunity to enhance your career across diverse fields. The innovations of the future – whether that be self-driving cars, precision agriculture or artificial intelligence – will be guided by tomorrow’s workforce in modern manufacturing. Whether through an apprenticeship program, a graduate trainee role or on-the-job teaching, there are many routes into modern manufacturing.

Seize the opportunity to join a growing sector – Modern manufacturing will generate 3.5 million high-skilled jobs in the next decade, with many roles potentially going unfilled due to a lack of trained employees. New jobs in modern manufacturing extend beyond shop floors and laboratories into offices, state-of-the-art tech centers and even your living room. Everything that is made needs smart thinkers and doers to invent, market, distribute and maintain revolutionary products.

Make a difference – All your favorite products – from your mobile device to your lifesaving medication – are a result of manufacturing. Manufacturing is the timeless innovation generator, touching every industry while making the world what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.

Earn a high salary and progress – With skills in high demand, jobs are well rewarded – on average, a job in manufacturing pays more than $81,000 a year in salary and benefits. It’s the path to a secure career, with many opportunities to progress and grow.


Today, manufacturers in America have more than half a million open jobs – a new record. America needs more creators – and more Americans need to see themselves in these rewarding roles. One of the best ways to encourage both is to meet the people of modern manufacturing, who make the industry strong not only by their work ethic but through their diverse backgrounds and paths in life. The three national finalists will be invited to attend the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards in Washington, D.C. for the opportunity to meet 130 modern manufacturers.

© 2020 Manufacturing Institute
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