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Women in Manufacturing is a community created by Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) members and designed exclusively for women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry, and want to share perspectives, gain cutting edge manufacturing information, improve leadership and communication skills, participate in sponsoring programs and network with industry peers. Visit the Women in Manufacturing website.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Women in Manufacturing: Are You Investing in the Other 50 Percent?

This week, WiM’s Founder and Executive Director Allison Grealis was interviewed by Plante Moran, an international business advisory firm, on the manufacturing skills gap and how women are a largely untapped resource to fill it.

As Plante Moran notes in the piece, manufacturers struggle to replace retiring workers from the baby boomer era, a full half of the hiring pool is not being reached as effectively as possible. Although American women are 47% of the workforce, earn more than 50% of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in the U.S., and hold more than 50% of all supervisory positions, they make up less than 25% of the manufacturing sector’s workforce.

Read Grealis’s suggestions and insights into this disparity in the full Plante Moran interview below:

Why aren’t the numbers of women in manufacturing higher? What’s keeping women out, or why are they choosing to stay out?

GREALIS: We know that women are underrepresented in manufacturing not because they are not able, but because they still believe the manufacturing field is a better fit for men. The biggest challenge women face when considering the manufacturing sector is the untrue stigma that surrounds manufacturing today. Too often, women still think of it as their father’s manufacturing. They think that manufacturing is dirty, dark, or dangerous. But manufacturing today is generally very high-tech and involves advanced technology and automation. It is much more about brains than brawn.

How do the priorities of women working in manufacturing and of young women considering their career options align with the opportunities within the sector?

GREALIS: A recent survey Women in Manufacturing conducted with Plante Moran found that among women aged 17 to 24, interesting and challenging work and high earning potential were top priorities as these young women contemplate future career paths.

Among women currently employed in the manufacturing industry, the survey found that 82 percent reported that the field offers interestingand challenging work. Seventy-four percent agreed the industry offers multiple job roles for women, and more than half agreed that manufacturing is a leading industry for job growth. One-half believes that good compensation is a benefit of the sector. These priorities align very well with the opportunities manufacturing affords.

When we talk to women in the manufacturing sector today, the thing we hear most often about why they like their jobs is that the work is exciting. Manufacturing, our members have told us, provides the opportunity to work with emerging technologies and offers the chance to learn new skills … It really comes down to simple math. The high number of women who are pleased with their jobs in manufacturing plus the high number of open manufacturing jobs equals a unique opportunity to attract more top-tier female talent to the manufacturing sector.

It’s also well documented that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace, and many recent studies have shown that organizations with larger percentages of women in leadership positions outperform their competition.

But those outdated perceptions of manufacturing are hard to overcome, especially if women remain under-represented among manufacturing leadership positions. Survey results found that over 50 percent of women felt having very few to no women currently in executive or management positions was a primary obstacle in the retention and advancement of women.

GREALIS: There are many ways companies can capitalize on the opportunities to invest in women and break down barriers. Many of the successful female leaders in manufacturing today indicate they had an internal champion or role model. Mentorship is important. Building a solid infrastructure for a supportive community also is important because we often hear from our members that they were not planning on a career in manufacturing until someone along the way recognized their talent and encouraged them. 

​In addition, competitive salaries, modern workplaces that offer challenging and stimulating assignments and the chance to work with advanced and emerging technologies, flexible work schedules, job sharing, programs to promote careers in manufacturing. These all move us beyond the negative stereotypes and attract diverse and talented workers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

WiM Board Member Promoted to President of Alcoa Building and Construction Systems

WiM Board Member Promoted to President of Alcoa Building and Construction Systems

Diana Bolt Perreiah
We are happy to announce that, last month, WiM board member Diana Bolt Perreiah was promoted to president of Alcoa Building and Construction Systems (BCS).

Diana has served as the leader of BCS North America since 2010 and has been responsible for the company’s operations, sales and product development in North America, including the integration of the Traco acquisition.

During her 28-year career with Alcoa, Diana has held a series of increasingly responsible leadership roles in Alcoa’s Global Packaging and Extrusions businesses as well as managing the consolidation of Alcoa’s North American Information Services and an assignment with Alcoa’s Operations Management Consulting team.

Last year, the Manufacturing Institute selected Diana for a Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award, which recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their manufacturing careers.

Diana replaces Glen Morrison in the role of president of Alcoa BCS.  Glen has accepted a position to lead a North American subsidiary of Tarkett.

We extend our sincerest congratulations to Diana and celebrate her as a role model for women in the manufacturing sector today.  We look forward to continuing to work with her and with Alcoa, a sponsor of the upcoming 2015 WiM SUMMIT.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#HearHerStory with Ashley Martof Workforce and Educational Outreach Intern at America Makes

At Women in Manufacturing, we are committed to supporting women in the manufacturing sector. We firmly believe that mentorship and community-building will help attract and retain women in manufacturing.  As part of our mission, we feature on our blog the stories of women we admire who are currently working in manufacturing.  The following is the latest installment of our "Hear Her Story" series.

Ashley Martof
Workforce & Educational Outreach Intern
America Makes
#HearHerStory / @womeninmfg

“When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be,” remembers Ashley Martof.  “I loved animals,” she says, “so I was thinking about studying biology and maybe becoming a veterinarian.”

It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that a teacher discovered her aptitude for math suggested a career in engineering.

“I did always like to build things when I was little,” Ashley says, “but I never connected that interest with engineering.  I am fortunate that my teacher put the two together and made the suggestion.”

So when she entered college in 2011 at Youngstown State University she focused on industrial engineering.  Two internships, first with Rezner in Meser, PA and then with Altronics in X, XX introduced Ashley to life on the factory floor. 

“It was a great introduction to manufacturing,” she says.  “I enjoyed seeing how final products came together.”  

But it was an a tour of America Makes in the Spring of 2013 that solidified her interest in the manufacturing sector.  America Makes is the first institute in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.  And it was on that visit that Ashley was first introduced to additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

“The technology just really blew my mind,” she recalls.

Now an intern with the program, Ashley helps the organization by developing educational content.  One of the first projects she completed was creating an additive manufacturing curriculum for teachers.  She has also organized a 3D printing camp for young students.  Last summer, she the lead the children through the basics of 3D design and even helped them print their own products.  Her work  earned her The STEM Intern of the Year award from Youngstown State University.

She hopes the programs she’s worked on will inspire younger students to find their own passion for manufacturing.

“It’s the new technology,” she says, “that really grabbed me.  The ability to make complex and custom products has pulled me in and now I never want to leave manufacturing.”

Ashley created a very special custom project as part of the first-ever White House Maker Faire in 2014 when she designed and printed a letter for President Obama.  “It’s harder to file, by the way, but it’s cooler” said the president about the letter which was 3D printed on metal.

On being a woman in manufacturing today, Ashley notes that she has not faced much opposition. 
“Sometimes, in traditional manufacturing,” she says, “women may be looked down on for having limited physical strength.”  But she considers that rapidly advancing technology is limiting the need for physical power anyway.  Modern manufacturing depends much more on mental power.

“More women in manufacturing would be great,” she says.  “We could fight stereotypes about women and about manufacturing with strength in numbers.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Women in Automotive, Manufacturing, and Tech Make Forbes List of Most Powerful Women

The Forbes annual list of Most Powerful Women is out today.  Included among these 100 women are foremost heads of state as well as iconic entrepreneurs and CEOS and notable celebrities and philanthropists.  According to Forbes, the list is compiled through an analysis of money, media momentum, and spheres of influence and impact.  You can read about Forbes' methodology here.

We were pleased to see Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, come in number 5.  She follows only Angela Merkel (on the list at number 1 for the 10th year in a row), Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates, and Janet Yellen.  Barra is listed as the world's most powerful businesswoman.

Coming in at an impressive number 20 is the only woman on the list whom Forbes classifies as being in the manufacturing sector, Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin.  Hewson is the company's first female CEO and she's made big strides by investing in emerging technologies in the energy and cyber fields.  Read her full Forbes profile here.

A solid 18 of the women on the list are in the tech industry, working in leadership positions at top U.S. and global companies like Facebook, Apple, Google (and Google-owned YouTube), Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Cisco Systems, and Alibaba Group.  Importantly, 7 tech women made it into the top 25 this year.

One lesson Forbes writer Caroline Howard says readers should take from the list is that "STEM degrees pay off."  Forbes notes the number of science, technology, engineering, and math degree-holders who made the cut, including Dupont CEO Ellen Kullman who studied mechanical engineering and comes in this year at number 26.

We were also glad to see Gwynne Shotwell on the list at number 90.  As president and COO of SpaceX, she manages the day-to-day operations of the commercial space exploration company.  See her full Forbes profile here.

Overall, the list is an impressive round-up of top women who are influencing sectors across the spectrum and lives around the world.

View the full list on Forbes' interactive website here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Women in Manufacturing Seeks Speakers for Annual Summit

Women in Manufacturing (WiM) invites interested parties to submit an application to speak at SUMMIT 2015, scheduled for September 23-25, 2015, in Minneapolis, MN.

This annual event is geared toward women who have chosen careers in manufacturing and want to share perspectives and network with others in the industry.  Expected to attract more than 300 professional women in manufacturing with titles ranging from production to CEO, SUMMIT 2015 will feature industry plant tours, a networking dinner, panel discussions, educational sessions and keynote presentations.
Past speakers have addressed a variety of topics, including leadership development, marketing for a manufacturing environment, effective communication strategies and lean manufacturing. 

Applications are encouraged on presentation topics related to professional development or pertinent business and technical topics.  If interested in being considered to speak at SUMMIT 2015, please complete the online application form at https://pma.wufoo.com/forms/wim-call-for-presentations-summit-2015 by April 17.  All submissions will be reviewed by the WiM SUMMIT Host Committee.

WiM does not pay speakers.  However, those who are selected to present will receive complimentary registration to the SUMMIT.  Most speakers stay for the entire conference, enjoying the experience and connecting with participants.

Please contact Kristin Moore at 216-503-5700 or kmoore@womeninmfg.org with questions.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

WiM is now a 501(c)6!

We are thrilled to announce that Women in Manufacturing is now a registered 501(c)6 national trade association.

As Rachel Abbey McCafferty reported in Crain's Cleveland Business over the weekend, we officially filed for our new status on March 19.  We celebrated with a cake and this annoucement to our members and supporters on Twitter:

A little history: When we started as an organization in 2011 we were an offshoot of the PrecisionMetalforming Association (PMA).  Now, but now, thanks to almost 500 members, as well as the drive and determination of our leadership, we're off and running on our own.

We are happy to retain the collaborative support (and office space!) of PMA.

In other important news, we held our first official board meeting in Washington, D.C. last week.  Gretchen Zierick of Zierick Manufacturing Corp. will be the first chairperson of our organization, having previously served as the first female chair in the Precision Metalforming Association in 2010.

What's next for us?  One goal is an increase in membership.  We're shooting for 1,000 members by the end of our fiscal year in March 2016.  Join us? 

WiM and UPS® make shipping easy for your business

WiM and UPS® make shipping easy for your business
At WiM, we’re always looking for new ways to help your business succeed, and as a result, we’re excited to partner with UPS and UPS Freight® to offer a member benefit program designed to make shipping easier and more cost effective for you.
The WiM/UPS Savings Program allows you to save on a wide variety of shipping options, including small package services such as UPS Ground® and UPS Next Day Air®, and UPS Freight® shipping solutions like LTL freight and Trade Show Services.
Not only will you save on your shipping, but you’ll also have access to UPS’s advanced technology and dedicated Association Team, who make ordering, tracking and shipping easier than ever.
WiM has worked with UPS for years to ensure that the shipping process goes as smoothly as possible for your business, and we’re excited to continue to offer this value-adding program.
The WiM/UPS Savings Program is a win-win for your business: you’ll have UPS’s renowned reliability and high-quality service at your fingertips, and you’ll save money with every shipment.
Ready to get started?  Enroll online, or contact our team today at 866.443.9303 or upsfreightassociations@ups.com to learn more!