Women a Growing Demographic in Manufacturing

September 10, 2012

Despite great advances made in the workplace for equal pay and equal opportunities despite gender, there are still places where breaking into the boys’ club can be difficult. You don’t typically find women on the factory floor — but perhaps that’s about to change. CNN recently published an article about how developing automation technology and the growing manufacturing education system combine to make a career in manufacturing more accessible to women.

Manufacturing: Not just a man’s job
By Parija Kavilanz

Tom and Diana Peters — the husband-wife team that runs Symbol Job Training — are on a mission of their own. They want to enroll more women students in their school.

“The stereotype is that factory jobs require a lot of heavy lifting,” said Diana. “It’s the complete opposite. So much of manufacturing today is high-tech and computerized. Women can do these jobs and be very successful.”

The Peters’ trade school was formerly a family-run tool-and-die shop before Diana, a company executive, bought it and transformed it into a manufacturing trade school in 2005.

“We saw the need to establish a vocational school because of a skilled labor shortage in the area,” she said.

Enrollment at Symbol, which specializes in teaching computer-aided machining, known as CNC, has since quadrupled to 140 students a year. The school recently moved to a larger facility.

Symbol currently has about a dozen female students, a level that Tom calls a “spike” from years past when the school had none.

Read the full article at CNNmoney. What sort of challenges have you seen for women in manufacturing and automation? How have you seen them being addressed?

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