Helping the Next Generation of Creators STEP into Modern Manufacturing

Young people who meet regularly with a mentor are 38 percent more likely to graduate on time, 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions.

GET INVOLVED with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for the chance to make a difference in the lives of young adults, increase their confidence and introduce them to the exciting careers available in manufacturing.

With a network of over 900 women leaders across the country, the Institute is seeking STEP alum who will visit their local Club to assist with a nationwide competition for K-12 girls in which the finalists will be invited to attend the national STEP Ahead Awards in Washington, D.C. in April 2020.


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. 

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.

The Manufacturing Institute has partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to change young minds about modern manufacturing careers. Beginning February 1, the Manufacturing Institute will launch a national competition in collaboration with BGCA to discover how Club members can “create a better future” through manufacturing. Three Club member finalists will be invited to attend the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards in Washington, D.C. for the opportunity to meet 130 modern manufacturers and be empowered to create their future.

Program participants are encouraged to unleash their creativity in this multi-medium competition, and the winners and a parent or guardian of the competition will be invited to attend an all-inclusive trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the national STEP Ahead Awards in April 2020.


All K-12 girls enrolled in a Boys & Girls Club will have the opportunity to participate in this nationwide competition to ignite excitement around modern manufacturing careers. Participants will be asked to creatively answer the question "What is an invention the world needs that you would create?" Submissions from each Club will be collected by the Club Director and submitted to The Manufacturing Institute for final selection.

Winners and a parent or guardian of the competition will be invited to participate in an all-inclusive trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the STEP Ahead Awards in April 2020. For more information on project entries, please visit the "How to Enter" page.


During the month of February, volunteer at your local Boys & Girls Club to help Club members work on their entry submissions. The competition encourages more girls to pursue STEM education and support their growth to bridge the industry gender gap. We need strong advocates like YOU on behalf of girls and women interested in a STEM career.

Connect with your local Club and volunteer to assist with the STEP Into Manufacturing competition. On-the-ground engagement will help to increase the visibility of role models in STEP careers and spark excitement to learn more about the manufacturing industry. While not mandatory to participate in the competition, letters of recommendation for contestants can supplement content entries. We ask that you please participate by February 28, 2020. 

Helpful information to get started:

1. Visit to find a Club near you

2. Connect to your local Club Director. The Club will be notified of the contest by the BGCA national office.

3. Set up a time to visit and help assist the Club with competition entries by February 29, 2020.

a. The activity should last approximately 2 hours or less.

b. Clubs usually operate after school hours, so late afternoon/night time flexibility is needed to volunteer.

4. Report back to the Institute’s STEP Ahead team at with a short email to tell us how it went!

Ready to volunteer? Email to get connected with your local Boys & Girls Club today.

© 2020 Manufacturing Institute
733 10th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001