Carolyn Lee

President & Executive Director

Carolyn Lee is the president and executive director of the Manufacturing Institute, the 501(c)3 nonprofit workforce development and education affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Ms. Lee leads the MI in its goal of building a resilient manufacturing workforce prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future. She was named to the leadership role at the MI in 2017, and during her leadership tenure, the MI has grown significantly, evolving for scaled impact nationwide across the manufacturing industry. She led the MI as it developed new programs, initiatives and events, including taking stewardship from Toyota of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education in 2019 and growing its reach; inaugurating the annual MI Workforce Summit; launching the 35×30 mentorship initiative for women and young girls; expanding the MI’s Heroes MAKE America initiative; working with the NAM to develop Creators Wanted—the manufacturing industry’s largest national workforce development and education campaign; and partnering with organizations such as Stand Together Trust to create the MI’s second chance hiring initiative.

Through implementing groundbreaking programs, convening industry leaders and conducting innovative research, the MI furthers individual opportunity, community prosperity and a more competitive manufacturing industry. The MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with solutions to address the toughest workforce issues.

Ms. Lee was raised in a manufacturing family; as the daughter and granddaughter of manufacturers, she saw from a young age the transformative impact manufacturing can have on communities, families and the men and women who build the world around us. Now it’s what drives her values as she works to bring manufacturing’s powerful potential to more Americans, sharing the many pathways to opportunity and ensuring that the industry and America can compete in the global economy.

Prior to her role leading the MI, Ms. Lee served for many years on the domestic policy team at the NAM. She also worked in leadership positions with the Telecommunications Industry Association and 3M and in the offices of former Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and former Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY).