(RED OAK, Texas) – Texas State Technical College and Women in Manufacturing will join forces for a Manufacturing Day event on Friday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at TSTC’s North Texas campus.
According to commerce.gov, women make up 47% of the American workforce but only 30% of those who work in manufacturing. The women who work in manufacturing earn an average of 16% more than the median average income for women who are employed in other areas, according to the website.
“Bringing awareness to the general population about the options available in manufacturing (is one of our goals),” Karen Rivera, state chair for the Texas chapter of Women in Manufacturing, said. “Not just (for) students, but people pivoting in their career, moms who want to return to work after a certain time, and to really bring that big awareness that manufacturing is an option I’m willing to bet you haven’t considered.”
Women in Manufacturing is a trade association with about 32,000 members across 47 states. It offers support for women in manufacturing, no matter what type of career that may be.
“Have you ever seen the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’?” Rivera said. “You remember when the dad would always say, ‘Give me a word, any word, and I will show you that it comes from Greece’? Same concept. Give me a job, any job, and I will show you one way or another how it’s connected to manufacturing.”
Rivera said that often the diversity of careers that are available in manufacturing surprises people.
“Not everybody in manufacturing is an engineer,” she said. “One of the women that we interact with a lot, she’s actually a chef … she developed the recipes for the package that you get at the supermarket. But she’s also a scientist, and she works in manufacturing. So I think that a big challenge is showing how manufacturing touches everything you touch.”
This is not the only thing that Rivera said she has to raise awareness about, however. There is still a stigma that manufacturing is a “male industry.”
“It’s not what we call the three D’s: dark, dirty and dangerous,” Rivera said. “It is not the dark, dirty, dangerous environments from the ’70s. It is still male-dominated, but you’d be surprised at the amount of women that are in manufacturing.”
Rivera also made a point of saying that women working in manufacturing is not a recent development.
“The one thing that women forget is that in World War II, when the draft took our men to war, we were the ones who stepped up to the plate, kept it going, and built the planes and artillery and the tanks, so it’s not anything new,” she said. “We’ve been doing it for quite some time.”
Each year, Manufacturing Day is held on the first Friday in October to educate students, parents and the public about modern manufacturing. For more information, visit https://www.manufacturingusa.com/manufacturing-day-2023.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.