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Manufacturing Instititute

What Do Women in Manufacturing Say?

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Guest blog by Heidi Alderman, 2017 STEP Ahead Chairwoman and Senior Vice President, Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation

There is a place for us in manufacturing.

I have worked in the industry for more than 30 years and have seen an increasing number of women join the ranks. However, we still need more!

Manufacturers have difficulty recruiting women because many believe the jobs are physical, repetitive and boringbut none of this is true. Today’s manufacturing jobs are highly technical, well-paying and offer a variety of career options with bright futures.

Manufacturing allows women to use creativity to solve problems, contribute to society and connect with others. Women in manufacturing are given the chance to solve the world’s problems, something that not many can say of their jobs. My work gives me pride in knowing the difference BASF makes by creating chemistry that solves the world’s problems.

Growing up, I saw manufacturing become the backbone of the United States. I studied engineering in college because I excelled at math and science in high school. I didn’t quite know what engineering was, but as it turns out, I made the right choice.

For me, engineering isn’t just a job; it’s a mindset for solving problems, whether they are technical, commercial or life-related. I’ve had roles in research, manufacturing, purchasing, marketing and business management, and the work has always been challenging, exciting and fun. Science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) career fields require the unique skills that women bring to the workforcea focus not only on achieving results, but also compassion for people, the desire to positively impact culture and the ability to motivate employees.

Although women in manufacturing have come a long way,  I know we must work together to enhance the industry image and communicate the new opportunities in this age of change. Whether you’re interested in engineering, design or even marketing, there is a place for YOU in manufacturing.

 

Serving Those Who Serve Us: NAM Staff Presented with Employer Patriot Award

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Yesterday, two members of the NAM team were recognized for their support as managers and supervisors to members of our National Guard and reserve services.  NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg and Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling were presented with the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Employer Patriot Award for Supervisors.

Robyn and Ross were nominated by Jason Melton, a policy coordinator at the NAM, who also is a technical sergeant with the Nebraska Air National Guard serving for 11 years and with the military for 16 years.

“Ross, Robyn and the National Association of Manufacturers have been vital in enabling me to serve the great state of Nebraska and my country in the Nebraska Air National Guard, said Melton. Moreover, their active support and encouragement has been critical to my success and the mission of the Nebraska National Guard and the security of our country. As supervisors, they go above and beyond in their support for my National Guard duties by providing flexibility and exceptional work accommodations while I am away from the office performing military Guard duties in Nebraska and throughout the world. They are deserving of this award, and I want to thank them for their continuing understanding and support of my service.”

The ESGR is a Department of Defense organization created to work with employers and service members to enhance the understanding of the missions our service members perform. With such a large percentage of the U.S. Armed Forces now being National Guard and Reserve, the employer plays a vital role in our national defense.

Ross Eisenberg and Robyn Boerstling are awarded the Employer Patriot Award for Supervisors by the Department of Defense. The Adjutant General of Nebraska, Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac presented the award. Photo Credit: D. Bohrer, NAM

Robyn Boerstling and Ross Eisenberg are awarded the Employer Patriot Award for Supervisors by the Department of Defense. The Adjutant General of Nebraska, Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, presented the award. Photo Credit: D. Bohrer, NAM

More than 80 percent of manufacturers report they cannot find people to fill their skilled production jobs. Meanwhile, thousands of service men and women return home each month, possessing not only an unmatched work ethic but also rigorous technical training and experience.

The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute are committed to connecting veterans to the manufacturing community. Get Skills to Work is a coalition of manufacturing companies and community and technical colleges committed to recruiting, training and retaining veterans in long-term careers in advanced manufacturing and other disciplines.

In partnership with Alcoa Foundation, the Institute has also released an employer playbook on hiring and retaining veterans. The guide, From Military Front Lines to Manufacturing Front Lines: Veterans and Your Workforce,” contains tips and best practices for manufacturers on resourcing, hiring and retaining veterans.

Companies Work to Train Veterans for New Careers

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Manufacturers throughout the country continue to struggle to find highly skilled workers to meet the needs of today’s manufacturing jobs. Companies and organizations such as the NAM’s affiliate, The Manufacturing Institute, are working on programs to help get workers the skills they need to succeed in advanced manufacturing.  

Last week SAP Americas launched a new program called Veterans to Work which will train and certify U.S. veterans on database and technology, analytics and enterprise mobility solutions. The company’s goal is to provide 1,000 veterans full scholarships over the next 12 months to help them launch new careers in IT.

“Our goal is not to find one-time jobs for veterans,” said Steve Lucas, executive vice president, Database & Technology, SAP. “We believe it is critical to provide deserving and qualified veterans the powerful technical tools they need to jump start a lifelong career in highly in-demand, innovative fields with significant potential for growth.”

This is great news for veterans looking to grow their skills for a career in a growing field. Earlier this fall several manufacturers teamed together with the Manufacturing Institute to form Get Skills to Work which is a collaborative program to join manufacturers and educators together to place veterans in long-term careers. It’s essential for our economy and the future of manufacturing that we continue to provide training to veterans and students to alleviate the shortage of skilled workers we currently face.