WASHINGTON, -  Today, The Manufacturing Institute, in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, hosted the first event of a STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Forward networking series developed to provide women in manufacturing an opportunity to hear from women industry leaders. While women make up about 47 percent of the labor force, they only represent 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce. The Manufacturing Institute and Alcoa Foundation are committed to improve and tackle this glaring statistic through the STEP Forward series. In addition, the findings of a national story were presented, which focuses on the collective perspective of 600 women in manufacturing.

The STEP Forward event was held with manufacturers to discuss current strategies and develop new concepts for advancing and retaining female talent. The women heard personal advice, inspiring stories, and key takeaways from Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds; previous STEP Ahead Honorees, Terri DeRoin from Phoenix Closures and Rebecca Guinn from John Deere; and Cindy Barnett, area manager at Alcoa.

The STEP Forward networking series, created as part of the STEP Ahead initiative, is building on the STEP Ahead leadership pillar and encouraging participants to join the STEP Ahead Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment from women in the industry to promote the importance of manufacturing careers through a variety of options that include, advocating for the industry, mentoring young girls, developing or joining an affinity group to generate ideas and share best practices, supporting manufacturing education, and promoting personal development.
 
In concurrence with the STEP Forward event, The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte, and APICS Supply Chain Council released the “Minding the manufacturing gender gap: How manufacturers can get their fair share of talented women.” The joint study represents both the collective perspective of 600 women in manufacturing, as well as the voice of manufacturing leaders, and calls upon manufacturers to tap into the full power and potential of women to improve the United States’ manufacturing sector’s ability to compete worldwide.

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