By Melsha Winchester, Marketing Director, Bishop-Wisecarver Group, 2017 STEP Ahead Honoree
“Women are underrepresented in all manufacturing sectors,” according to the Untapped Resource study conducted by The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. There are many organizations focused on introducing and encouraging female students to pursue manufacturing careers, such as Women in Manufacturing, Association of Women in the Metal Industries and Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation just to name a few. It is apparent that one of the best way to attract female students is to have women already working in manufacturing careers share the career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry. “By reaching out to mentor a girl or young woman, you can change her life and put everyone’s future in good hands,” said Tabby Biddle in her article “Why Mentoring Young Women and Girls Is Important.”
Bishop-Wisecarver, a California-based manufacturer, can be included in organizations focused on inspiring female students to pursue rewarding careers in manufacturing. I recognize that as a woman in the manufacturing industry and the marketing director at Bishop-Wisecarver, I have a great opportunity and responsibility to show young girls why a career in manufacturing is rewarding and fulfilling.
I wanted to share the top three ways manufacturers can get female students excited about pursuing a career in manufacturing that I have learned at Bishop-Wisecarver:
- Host a Manufacturing Day℠ or Private Plant Tour—Every October, Bishop-Wisecarver hosts Manufacturing Day for local students and FIRST® teams. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers by having students tour their plants, ask questions and participate in hands-on activities. Our program at Bishop-Wisecarver also includes a career panel, where staff members talk about their careers in engineering, technology, sales, marketing and operations. Make sure that you include female staff members because young ladies will relate to women who are in roles thought mainly as “male roles.”
- Sponsor a Local FIRST Team—Bishop-Wisecarver is proud to support two all-girls FIRST® teams for the 2016–2017 season. Our contribution helps students build skills in STEM to design extraordinary robots that compete in rigorous matches. STEM programs will help prepare students for careers in manufacturing.
- Support STEM-Based Programs—During the year, Bishop-Wisecarver actively participates in local science fairs, engineering camps and summits. Our president, Pamela Kan, served as a mentor and panelist for female high school students in last year’s STEAM Summit organized by ASTRA. The support of these activities helps create opportunities for mentorship where female students can have a place to go when they have questions or need support.
As a recent recipient of the 2017 STEP Ahead Award, I had the opportunity to meet many women with rewarding careers in manufacturing. The discussions were riveting, and now I’m inspired to do more to reach young women to tell them why working for a manufacturing company is a great career choice. Learn more about the Institute’s STEP Ahead program here.