Manufacturing Institute

About The Manufacturing Institute

As the affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, The Manufacturing Institute is the authority on world-class manufacturing talent. The Institute works to close the manufacturing skills gap through shifting the perception of manufacturing careers, improving manufacturing education partnerships, and attracting key members of the workforce.  In partnership with some of the leading consulting firms in the country, the Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

“Manufacturing means honoring the people who built this country yesterday, supporting those who continue to do so today and giving more Americans the opportunity to do so tomorrow. I'm convinced that the more girls and women hear these Honorees' stories about what modern manufacturing looks like and what's possible in it, the more they'll dare to dream of what they can do in manufacturing too. The women we've honored have the potential to inspire a new generation of manufacturers."

Carolyn Lee, Executive Director, The Manufacturing Institute

STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders are motivating women to choose careers in manufacturing.

The Institute launched the STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards to recognize women in manufacturing who exemplify leadership within their companies. This national honor identifies the best of the best women in the manufacturing industry, and further encourage women to mentor and support the next generation of female talent to pursue manufacturing careers. STEP Ahead draws public attention to manufacturing’s present-day reality, attracts more women into the industry, and encourages job seekers to develop the skills they need to qualify for a long-term career in this growing sector of the economy.

How is STEP Ahead making a difference?

STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders act as ambassadors for the industry, motivating women of all ages to choose careers in manufacturing and promoting their advancement. Over the past five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-age children.

Previous Honorees and Emerging Leaders say the STEP Ahead recognition has helped their career, and of other women in the industry:

• 75% say STEP Ahead has increased visibility of opportunities for women

• 88% say it has increased their level of engagement in developing others

• 88% engaged with individuals to advocate for the manufacturing industry

• 92% engaged in efforts help female colleagues succeed in their careers through professional development

• 70% engaged with K-12 system to encourage young girls and boys to consider a career in manufacturing

With the support of manufacturers in the United States, STEP Ahead has become a highly successful grassroots movement dedicated to overcoming the skills gap and attracting, retaining and advancing high-quality female talent.