DEI in Manufacturing

Briefing On Integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Manufacturing

America’s strength and sustainable development in the 21st Century depends upon a thriving manufacturing sector.  That means we need far more progress aligning efforts to include those between states and Economic Development Districts.  More coordinated capacity to advance manufacturing helps the sector be 1) more economically competitive making solution oriented products, 2) in a environmentally responsible manner, 3) with more diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in ownership and its workforce, and 4) all with attention to cyber-security.

So with that four part framework for progress in mind, and thanks to a grant by the Economic Development Administration, stakeholders gathered on March 30 to focus on one of those key components; the importance of DEI in manufacturing ownership and its workforce. The webinar entitled DEI in Manufacturing, you can watch here.

The Century Foundation Fellow Michelle Burris kicked off the event describing the evidence of two million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030 and with a workforce of 67% white (non-Hispanic) and 70% male and we have to do better faster.  She described an “Impactful Credentialing Programs” in a 13 community colleges cohort. Audra Ladd from the Urban Manufacturing Institute then presented on “Pathways to Patient Capital Cohort” to support manufacturers of color. Matt Bogoshian, Executive Director, American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (AMCC) then framed the discussion around the importance of opportunities to accelerate progress in many of the six key components of a thriving manufacturing ecosystem and how central DEI is central to that work.

The first panelist Carolyn Chism Hardy, a black woman manufacturing business owner, described the challenges she has faced and overcome in fighting for access to capital to buy a $25M brewery. She gave advice about the importance of getting CEOs and executives walking the talk.   Then Dr. Gerard Melancon, a professional workforce development executive described blue ocean strategies and sector strategies with community colleges to solve for the DEI workforce challenges.  Petra Mitchell, President of Catalyst Connection, a regional leader strengthening the manufacturing ecosystem, then described the importance of reaching employers who want to change the culture to create diverse inclusive environments.  She then described a DEI Toolkit that helps manufacturers walk the walk in bringing more DEI into manufacturing.  All agreed that we have a long way to go to infuse DEI into manufacturing but that we are making directional progress that needs to be accelerated.

America’s Manufacturing Communities Collaborative is an alliance of communities with regional economic development initiatives underway dedicated to achieving sustainable development through economic growth, improved environmental performance, and inclusive well-paid job creation.  For more information contact