In a recent Modern Machine Shop article, author Emily Probst profiles three women who demonstrate how an inclusive workforce can help manufacturing thrive.
While a good deal of the talk at this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) focused on big data, automation and 3D-printing technologies, what struck me most was the undercurrent of change in our industry. There was a palpable uptick in the number of female attendees learning about new technology, leading seminars and making purchasing decisions. Moreover, a walk through the show’s Smartforce Student Summit revealed nonchalant, coed groups of young people seemingly unconcerned with the industry’s historic gender divide, foreshadowing change on the horizon and illuminating what could be a key piece to solving the workforce development puzzle.
This is such an important change that it is worth noting for its own sake. Greater inclusiveness in manufacturing is good for our industry, and it is playing out in very real ways in businesses across the United States. By examining the experiences of those who are living out that inclusiveness, we gain valuable insight into what their experiences may teach us.
With that aim in mind, I am writing a story about three women whose manufacturing careers span various ages and stages. Notably, this story appears in a magazine that just this year included its first cover story written by a female staff writer. (See our July issue.) Don’t get me wrong, this certainly wasn’t the first feature-length story penned by a woman to ever run in our magazine; we’ve been doing that for years. That story, however, just happened to have the right photography, intrigue and “cool factor” that made it the best cover candidate compared to our other stories that month. It was a darn-good story that proved to be the best fit for the job.