Women in Manufacturing: Go Bold
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation presents “Women in Manufacturing.” This 4-part article series highlights the role women play in the manufacturing industry, the challenges they face, and what industry leaders are doing to combat those challenges right here in Cabarrus County.
The word “bold” has several definitions. In fact, dictionary.com lists a total of nine different definitions for this one, four-letter adjective. When you really think about it, however, it should come as no surprise—there are so many different ways to be bold.
For the women of Go Bold, a gender diversity initiative from the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), one definition stands out above the rest:
bold (adj) – not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward
History would have you believe that women do not have a place in manufacturing. Conventional, established standards within the industry might even agree. That’s why women interested in STEM careers such as manufacturing, automotive, construction, logistics, and biotechnology have to be bold. After all, glass ceilings are meant to be broken, and Go Bold exists to help women break them all over Cabarrus County.
Go BOLD was created as an awareness campaign to attract more women into manufacturing jobs in Cabarrus County.
These jobs are a large and growing segment of our local economy. By increasing the number of women in manufacturing jobs in Cabarrus County, we can increase the prosperity of our community by providing women with increased earning power and providing companies with diversity that can result in improved bottom lines and workforce capacity.
As established in our first Women in Manufacturing feature, Minding the Gap, initiatives like Go Bold are exactly what women need to develop a new perspective of the manufacturing industry. Go Bold focuses on exposing women to all of the available options within the field and encouraging them to pursue a career that is both challenging and rewarding.
When companies decide to relocate or expand their business to Cabarrus County, they do so with workforce in mind. They come here with job openings and the desire for a more diverse, inclusive workplace. That’s where Go Bold comes in. It’s the bridge that connects skilled women to open positions in the industry—positions that come with good wages, full-time benefits packages, and potential for advancement.
Manufacturing careers can be found in food, textiles, furniture, electronics, household products, heavy equipment, and more. Some positions require assembling goods. Others may require painting, upholstering, or assisting in quality control. Ultimately, there is more to manufacturing than meets the eye, and lucky for us, Cabarrus County is home to a multitude of manufacturers. In other words, your local options in manufacturing go as far and wide as your skills will take you, but you’ll have to acquire those skills first.
Typically, a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for most types of manufacturing jobs. Much of the knowledge you need will be learned during training. However, if you would like more hands-on training before you enter the workforce, consider courses at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC) or the NC Manufacturing Institute’s 8-week education program. Either option allows you to gain the necessary skills you need to find the right fit within the industry, something Leandra Young, Lead Receiver at Corning Optical Communications, believes is essential to success. For women in particular, RCCC is the perfect place to gain all the industry knowledge and real-world skills you need to thrive, and they have a National Science Foundation grant to prove it.
“Today, manufacturers across the country are facing a gap between the technical skills their employees need and the skills they find in applicants. Women absolutely have the aptitude and ability to enter these career fields, but there remains some lack of awareness of the many lucrative opportunities available,” says Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of RCCC, in a recent blog article. “Rowan-Cabarrus works to address barriers that prevent employers from finding skilled, well-trained candidates. The National Science Foundation grant enables us to further that mission.”
The CEDC’s partnership with schools and organizations such as RCCC proves that education and opportunity are all it takes to “break the rules” and go bold. Despite the current and future workforce challenges that the industry faces, Cabarrus County is hopeful—because we believe in bold women.