IWIM. To start, it's an abbreviation for Influential Women in Manufacturing.
For the three founders of the program, it's much more than that. To us, it's a cause, something we're truly passionate about—something that inspires and challenges us every day (and many nights).
When we came together to develop the IWIM program, we were keenly aware of the widely discussed statistics about manufacturing's projected workforce shortage. Manufacturers already are contending with waves of retirements and are working hard to convince young people that traditional perceptions of manufacturing are just that: traditional, outdated, and not at all in line with today's sleek, clean manufacturing facilities and the efficient, high-tech reality of much of today's manufacturing work.
It's also not news that women can play a key role in addressing manufacturing's serious labor crunch. While women make up 47% of the overall U.S. labor force, they represent only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. We know that manufacturing offers high-quality jobs with incredible opportunities for advancement. These are family-sustaining and personally rewarding jobs for individuals across a wide range of educational backgrounds and professional interests.
Who better to tell this story—to show the opportunities for personal achievement, and for being part of a team and an industry that's doing meaningful, important work—than the women who are moving the needle for industry. We wanted to recognize women who are effecting change in manufacturing and industrial production, and so in late 2017 IWIM was born.
Women Get Stuff Done
This idea of supporting and advancing women into key leadership roles is personal for Putman Media. In 1973 John and Grace Cappelletti, parents of our current CEO John Cappelletti, had the opportunity to purchase Putman Publishing. John had been rising through the ranks at Putman; Grace was focused on raising their five children. The couple bought the company and John led it until he passed away from cancer in 1981. Following his passing, Grace stepped in and took the helm—and she steered the company from 1981 until she retired in 2004. She dove in and led, and her legacy continues to inspire the Putman team today.
Women get stuff done. In reading through the profiles of our inaugural class of Influential Women in Manufacturing honorees, you can't help but arrive at that takeaway.
The eight-member team at Putman Media that read through all 100 nominations received this year and selected, by vote, our first class of IWIM honorees came away truly inspired. We are honored to spotlight in our 2018 Influential Women in Manufacturing eBook the excellent work that each of the 22 honorees is doing in her company or organization and for the industry as a whole, in part because we recognize how important visibility is.
We hope you've enjoyed our story and trust us to tell yours. We look forward to the men and women we'll meet along the way as we work toward finding our second annual class of Influential Women in Manufacturing.