Connecticut. Dream It. Do It., led by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT), announced that it’s Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit has been endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute as a national best practice for attracting young women to future manufacturing careers.
Created by Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. and co-hosted with Dream It. Do It. Rhode Island, the 2015 Summit was the first such event to be presented jointly by two Dream It. Do It. sites. More than 150 students from Connecticut and Rhode Island schools attended.
“Despite the resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S., women continue to be significantly underrepresented in the industry,” said Susan Palisano, CCAT director of education and workforce development. “Women make up only 27% of the manufacturing labor force, and are earning only 20% of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field bachelor’s degrees.”
To enable the national Dream It. Do It. sites around the country to replicate the event, Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. created a how-to toolkit that explains the strategy behind the event and covers the details that go into leading a successful summit.
The Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit blueprint has two clear mandates: to change the perception of women in manufacturing through positive role models; and to increase the number of girls entering the STEM pipeline.
The event involves successful businesswomen and educators in manufacturing, exhibits, hands-on demonstrations, student and teacher workshops, a “Women in Manufacturing” roundtable, and company tours.
After attending the event, 80 percent of students surveyed reported that they were more interested in a manufacturing career, 81 percent wanted to learn more about manufacturing, and 98 percent found the experience a positive one. Hearing from female industry leaders proved valuable, as one student remarked, “I liked that the women speaking were important and higher up in their companies.”
According to teacher comments, the educator workshops provided insight into manufacturing opportunities for young women and practical classroom techniques that they can use. Said one teacher, “I feel we as educators are better equipped to promote careers in the manufacturing industry to our female students.”
Another teacher noted that, “engaging with panel members was both informative and enjoyable. I was impressed with their willingness to help young girls become involved in manufacturing.”
“Making It Real gives young girls an opportunity to learn about 21st century manufacturing directly from successful manufacturing women. The program is essential in helping today’s manufacturing leaders recruit the next generation of talent,” said Nicholas D’Antonio, program manager, The Manufacturing Institute.