Exploring Manufacturing’s “35×30” Initiative
Every few years, there’s a new initiative in manufacturing designed to ramp up employment — or, at the very least, excitement about a career in manufacturing. And while many of these programs succeed on some level, they’ve all fallen short of solving the imminent crisis: a massive dearth of qualified workers.
To address this issue once and for all, manufacturers must cast a wider net. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the path to a wider scope of manufacturing talent, and initiatives like the “35×30” campaign are a major step toward solving the problem.
An overview of the 35×30 campaign
Proposed by the Manufacturing Institute, the 35×30 campaign seeks to diversify the workforce by engaging more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and creating clear career pathways for them into the manufacturing sector.
The program’s goals are highly ambitious. The Manufacturing Institute hopes to increase the representation of women in manufacturing jobs to 35% by 2030. That’s an increase of 500,000 women on the factory floor! Currently, women make up just 29% of the manufacturing labor force, and the hoped-for increase of 6% is set to benefit manufacturers greatly by closing the skills gap.
Studies show that by bringing 10% more women into the field, producers can close the skills gap by 50%. In short, more women on the factory floor means a better-skilled, more productive workforce for the future of manufacturing.
Opportunities for women in manufacturing
The 35×30 campaign builds upon the Manufacturing Institute’s successful Women MAKE America Initiative, going beyond the goals of that program by improving both recruitment and retention.
The campaign takes a three-pronged approach through mentoring, collaborating, and educating women interested in an industrial career:
- The 35×30 campaign aims to create a nationwide network of 1,000+ female mentors who connect with students and emerging leaders.
- The campaign creates opportunities for manufacturers to collaborate on strategies for attracting and retaining talented women.
- By partnering with nonprofits and other organizations, manufacturers can create skill-building experiences centered around STEM topics.
Other programs funded by 35×30 include national campaigns to change public perception around manufacturing, as well as seminars and lectures that connect women with influential emerging leaders in the manufacturing space.
Inclusion equals success for manufacturing
The 35×30 campaign is one of the largest movements focused on bringing more talented women to the factory floor. While changes won’t happen overnight, manufacturers are set to reap significant benefits from diversifying their workforce.
Not only will producers find fresh talent to fill the ever-growing backlog of manufacturing jobs; they’ll also find the right talent: people with the skills to elevate the practice of production. All producers have a role to play in welcoming more women into the manufacturing labor pool — to create a capable, resilient 21st century workforce.