Manufacturing faces a serious skills gap. Part of this gap is the underrepresentation of women in the industry. While women make up approximately 50% of the labor force, that number is only about 24% in the manufacturing labor force. A formal research initiative was launched with Deloitte to better understand why manufacturing isn’t attracting its fair share of talented women and to offer best practices for how manufacturers can attract, retain, and advance female talent. See the full report.

In 2012, The Manufacturing Institute launched the Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP) Ahead initiative to honor and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership. The STEP Ahead initiative will not only celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding current leadership in manufacturing again with our annual Awards Dinner, but also to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

2014 STEP Awards

2013 STEP Awards

The STEP Ahead initiative is the call for action to:

  • Honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their manufacturing careers;
  • Celebrate exciting careers in manufacturing to help change negative perceptions of the industry;
  • Help close the skills gap by developing a more diverse workforce and attracting, retaining and advancing female talent in the manufacturing industry;
  • Continue to ensure new opportunities for women in the manufacturing industry;
  • Empower today’s current manufacturing leaders to help inspire the next-generation of leadership and talent.

© 2014 Manufacturing Institute
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