Manufacturing Is for Everyone: Encouraging Women to Join the Industry’s Workforce

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As the manufacturing industry moves forward, the need for skilled workers is growing rapidly. One group stepping up to fill these highly valued roles in increasing numbers is women.This long ignored talent pool is finally getting the attention they deserve and everyone stands to benefit. However, work is still needed to show the appeal of manufacturing to the dedicated and resourceful women of the world.

Education

The first step for showing the benefits that the manufacturing industry has to offer is education. Showing women from a young age that manufacturing isn’t a “boys only” industry is critical to creating a more diverse workforce. Excellent organizations like Women in Manufacturing (WiM) are already hard at work educating women around the country that a career in the industry can be as fruitful as anywhere else, with typically higher rates of job satisfaction.

Another excellent way manufacturers can help educate and eliminate the stigma of the industry is by embracing apprenticeship programs that aid in getting more women into the industry. Plenty of these programs are out there, most operate solely in their own state and are always looking for businesses to partner with to increase the range of operations. Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs are a tried and true method of manufacturing education that let those interested experience the industry in a hands-on capacity.

Tax Policies to Encourage Women’s Labor Force Participation

With manufacturers hard at work updating their recruitment strategies and workplace culture to reach a broader talent pool, there are ways the government can lend a hand. Tax reform has long been a primary of focus for manufacturers as they insist it will help alleviate burdensome over taxation which could free up capital to invest in growth. Bringing on new employees is not a small expense and creating new recruitment strategies and adjusting culture expends an incredible amount of time and money as well. However, in a recent report, written by Sara LaLumia of Williams College, she offers her input on how tax reform could play a major role in encouraging more women to join the labor force.

In this 17 page document, LaLumia takes an in-depth look at the current tax system for married women. She wants to get to the bottom of a few major issues and includes her detailed look at a new option. This heavily researched report could offer some insight into the reason more women aren’t entering the labor force and what can be done to reverse this trend. Furthermore, with tax reform making headlines, it’s more important than ever to understand and investigate different solutions for this complicated issue.

Find the full report, here.

Recruitment

The manufacturing industry must also expand and modernize its efforts in order to recruit women. While apprenticeship programs do a great job of teaching the skills necessary for a career, they are pointless without concentrated efforts to get women to join them. This requires time and effort from not only organizations dedicated to the cause, but local businesses as well. Visits to college campuses and high schools do wonders for demonstrating that the industry isn’t the dark, dirty and dangerous place the public perceives it as.

Meeting with students sometimes isn’t enough, increased attention toward meeting with parents to show that times are changing and the industry isn’t what it was when they were growing up is critical. If done successfully, this will stop any discouragement a child would receive from their parents when first becoming interested in manufacturing. One way manufacturers are reaching parents are through guided plant tours that show their facility and the many jobs available throughout the plant. These tours can even be done through organizations like the Girl Scouts to really drive home that manufacturing is for everyone.

In an industry that is in desperate need of strong and dependable workers, women are a talent pool that can no longer be ignored. Increasing education and recruitment efforts while changing federal policies are absolutely necessary to making manufacturing more appealing. Hopefully, over the coming years the current push for STEM education and efforts from organizations like WiM aid in making the industry better with this talented section of the workforce.