With the skills gap threatening manufacturers around the country, and not nearly enough millennials entering the industrial space, many have cited the need for more women in manufacturing. In the past, women dominated the shop floor while men were sent overseas to fight in World War II. At that time, women had characters like Rosie the Riveter to inspire them to join the ranks of blue collar workers that kept America moving forward.
But today, women make up substantially fewer manufacturing employees. A recent article in Manufacturing.Net cites false stereotypes about both women and the manufacturing sector as a major cause of this issue. So what can we do to promote industrial careers among women?
Here at American Crane, our commitment to our employees serves a dual purpose of educating the public about the value of industrial careers, and the opportunities available to women in this sector. Recently, we were proud to promote Karen Norheim, pictured right, formerly Vice President of Marketing and Information Technology, to Executive Vice President of the company. In this role, she plays a vital part in the success of American Crane, while also serving as an ambassador for women in technical careers.
Having a strong background in marketing and information technology, Karen has been a constant force driving the company forward into the 21st century. In addition to regular office duties, she’s also been actively advocating industrial careers to those who may not be familiar with the sector. This past fall, she had an especially busy roster. In September, Karen was a panelist for the 2014 Women in Manufacturing Summit in Chicago, IL. During her interview, Karen cited the reasons why manufacturers stand to benefit from hiring employees with different backgrounds. “Women offer a valuable point of view. Manufacturers need to have diversity in order to have a competitive edge,” she said.
In October, Karen and her colleagues led a group of local high school students on a tour of American Crane’s manufacturing plant. The event was planned in honor of National Manufacturing Day, which is a day set aside each October for plants to open their doors to the public.
Later that same month, Karen was invited to participate on another panel, this one being for Nuclear Science Week. On October 17th, she started the day by discussing “The Energy Assembly Line: Advanced Manufacturing in Reducing Global Carbon Emissions,” at the Big Event in Seattle, Washington. The show brought together students, teachers, and members of the general public who are interested in nuclear science innovations.
This is just a sampling of the community involvement Karen does on behalf of American Crane. With her in-depth knowledge of the industrial world, she is a perfect role model for women and girls who are considering a technical profession. We feel very fortunate to have our very own Rosie residing within our walls.