News Manufacturing Institute News The Manufacturing Institute, 3M, Deloitte Promote Women in Manufacturing


The Manufacturing Institute, 3M and Deloitte brought together 130 women in manufacturing for a day-long event, STEP Forward: Twin Cities, packed with leadership development sessions, networking, facility tours and roundtable discussions.

STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production) Forward was launched by The Manufacturing Institute to promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry and offer companies a unique opportunity to strengthen their diversity strategies and develop new concepts for advancing and retaining female talent. STEP Forward: Twin Cities convened women from all levels of the manufacturing workforce, from the shop floor to the C-suite. Attendees heard from Tonie Leatherberry, principal of Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, Jaime Tincher, chief of staff at the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, Jon Lindekugel, senior vice president of 3M Supply Chain, and Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute, all of whom offered solutions and leading best practices. The event mobilized attendees to act as a catalyst for change within their companies and communities.

Filling manufacturing jobs is difficult. According to a report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 84 percent of executives agree there is talent shortage in the U.S. manufacturing sector, and 80 percent of manufacturing executives reported they are willing to pay more than market rate salaries and wages in order to secure qualified talent. Still, six out of ten positions remain unfilled due to the talent shortage.

While women make up about 47 percent of the labor force, they represent only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Through STEP Forward, The Manufacturing Institute, 3M and Deloitte are committed to connecting more women with the rewarding, fulfilling and well-paying opportunities that manufacturing offers.

“Our ability to close the talent gap will be a key to success going forward. As an industry, we need to tackle this issue head on, being proactive in our efforts to recruit the diverse talent needed to provide the perspective to succeed,” said Jon Lindekugel, senior vice president of 3M Supply Chain. “Programs such as STEP Forward are instrumental in reaching women with the skillsets necessary to be successful in manufacturing roles. It is our job to inform and educate this talented group of individuals on the benefits of choosing a career in manufacturing and support these candidates early on in their careers.”

“With today’s manufacturing talent shortage having reached critical mass, recruiting and retaining women isn’t just smart business: It’s an imperative,” commented Leatherberry. “Organizations that prioritize the recruitment, retention and advancement of women – and that look closely at how their current talent strategies may need to change in order to attract more women – may benefit. After all, research has shown that inclusive teams can help bolster innovation, return on equity, and profitability in the manufacturing sector.”

“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. STEP Forward is working to close this gap by providing women opportunities to cultivate rewarding careers in manufacturing,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The women participating in this event demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth.”

-About the MI-

The Manufacturing Institute is the social impact arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. We drive programs and research to promote modern manufacturing and jumpstart new approaches to growing manufacturing talent. For more information, please visit

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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