Attracting Diverse Talent in Manufacturing

Submitted by Southern Indiana Works

Attracting diverse candidates has been and continues to be a challenge for many companies and addressing the gender gap is no exception. Manufacturing, industrial, and related sectors tend to struggle the most in attracting women to their companies. Even though women make up about half of all overall workers, they account for less than one-third of manufacturing workers.

Overall, about 1 in 4 local manufacturing workers are women. Our local region’s manufacturing sector is 28% female, which is on par with the national rate of 29%. Some manufacturing sectors have higher rates of female employment. Among those sectors are household appliance manufacturing (35%), plastics product manufacturing (36%), and printing and related support activities (41%).

Bridging the gender gap and attracting more diverse talent really comes down to reshaping the way people think about manufacturing jobs. This  includes educating individuals on the types of jobs that are available in the industry and helping them get the required qualifications to fill those open positions. Manufacturing is currently in an exciting phase. With new products, methods, and technology on the table and more on the horizon, women will be an important and critical part of the future of manufacturing.  Women represent one of the largest pools of talent that continues to go untapped. Unless the gender gap is addressed, companies’ abilities to innovate and expand will be limited.

Various initiatives and organizations have been developed to spearhead the campaign to bridge the gender gap allowing for a more diverse and robust talent pipeline, feeding into the manufacturing industry. Southern Indiana Works (SIW) and our partners Ivy Tech, One Southern Indiana, and Prosser Career Education Center have worked together to develop the Southern Indiana Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline (AMP) initiative. AMP is designed to build a pipeline of qualified skilled workers prepared to enter and advance in a manufacturing career.

AMP begins with assessing candidates for basic skills and employment barriers and matches them with a Workone Career Coach. From there, candidates are provided with remediation to ensure they have reached a level of employability skills that will allow them to be successful in a full-time manufacturing job. These skills are validated by the ACT WorkKeys exam. Following the WorkKeys National Career Readiness certificate, candidates will enter a short-term certification course that will result in a Certified Production Technician certification, providing them with a number of manufacturing essential skills.

The final phase of the AMP program places the skilled candidate into an Earn and Learn opportunity at one of our regional employer partners where they will be trained to the specific needs of the employer and provided a career path.

Learn more about Southern Indiana AMP or how to become and Employer Partner on April 13th during the MMA General Meeting at 11am*.

*Only Metro Manufacturing Alliance (MMA) members of 1si are allowed to attend the General MMA Meetings.  If you are a manufacturer and would like information on becoming an MMA member, contact Steven Cabezas or Mary Jo Wallin-Orlowski

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