-  The Manufacturing Institute, Arconic Foundation, and Newport News Shipbuilding hosted STEP Forward: Hampton Roads, a networking event for women in manufacturing to discuss challenges and opportunities, connect with their peers, and share best practices in the workplace. This event gave the manufacturing industry an opportunity to shine a light on the untapped opportunities for women in a rewarding field.

While women make up about 47 percent of the labor force, they only represent 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. The Manufacturing Institute, Arconic Foundation and Newport News Shipbuilding are committed to improve and tackle this glaring statistic through the STEP Forward series.

STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Forward brings all levels of women in manufacturing together, from the factory floor to the c-suite, providing opportunities to connect with industry leaders. The attendees heard advice and key takeaways from Jasmine Brown, Alloy/Weld Process Owner, Arconic; Keira Lombardo, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Smithfield Foods; Chris Miner, Vice President, In-Service Aircraft Carrier Program, Newport News Shipbuilding; and AJ Jorgenson, AVP of Strategic Engagement at The Manufacturing Institute.

"Arconic and Arconic Foundation value diversity in the workforce and are committed to supporting women in pursuit of manufacturing careers,'' said Suzanne van de Raadt Vice President, Global Communications and Program Development. "Today’s manufacturing industry offers high-tech, higher paying careers in which women can and do succeed, and where their diversity of thought, experience, skills and background are needed to ensure continued advancements.”

The Manufacturing Institute launched the STEP Ahead initiative to honor and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership. STEP Forward brings the STEP Ahead initiative into the community to increase engagement and awareness, and allow attendees to connect to local partners.

“STEP Forward mobilizes women to act as a catalyst for change within their company and their community,” The Manufacturing Institute AVP of Strategic Engagement AJ Jorgenson said. “This is our third year partnering with Arconic Foundation hosting STEP Forward events, and we are excited to have the opportunity to continue spreading our message to women all across the U.S.”

The STEP Forward event took place at the Newport News Marriott at City Center from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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