Diversity drives innovation, and at TCCI, one thing is abundantly clear: there’s a place for women in manufacturing.
According to the US Census Bureau, women make up about 47% of the American workforce but only 30% are employed in the manufacturing industry. Julie Miller, Product Lifecycle Management Analyst for TCCI, explained one of the barriers preventing more women from entering the workforce.
“I think it can be intimidating to jump in headfirst because manufacturing is still predominantly male,” said Miller. “I came to this industry just looking for a job, and 12 years later, I’ve built a career around manufacturing at TCCI.”
Changing perception is key to accelerating the industry’s slow growth, and perception often begins in the classroom. Education, crucial to innovation in manufacturing, is the most effective way to bring about change in the industry. Whether it be degrees in STEM-related fields or apprenticeships in manufacturing, women are vastly underrepresented—men made up 52% of all U.S. workers but 73% of all STEM workers.
TCCI hopes to change this discrepancy through the EV Workforce Training Academy in Decatur, Illinois, where a partnership with TCCI and Richland Community College + Enrich™ will accelerate the clean energy plan and reduce instability of local workforce through job training programs, certificates, stackable credentials, STEM pathways, and apprenticeship programs.
So how does one get the word out and encourage women to join this lucrative, evolving field?
Julie Miller suggests going to high schools and colleges to talk with students about job-shadowing and workplace tour opportunities.
Laurel Brown, Quality Supervisor at TCCI, suggests good old-fashioned word of mouth. “This industry is flexible and works great for women,” said Brown. “Give them personal experiences. Tell them the truth. Growth is possible.”
TCCI IT Global Manager Carrie Young, whose Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) team is half comprised of women, agrees. “Things are changing. There are so many opportunities for women in manufacturing.”
Technology has transformed manufacturing, and what was once thought of as a “dirty” and “backbreaking” job is now an advanced industry where modern innovation has changed the landscape.
“Some just don’t know what manufacturing truly is, and you will fail if you think a certain way,” said Eugenia Vargas, Global Purchasing Manager at TCCI for eight years. “Manufacturing is dynamic. You solve problems and processes and learn how things are made.”
“Day to day, I spend my time learning how to infuse technology into manufacturing,” said Young.
Among other common misconceptions is the idea that manufacturing jobs exist only on the factory floor, while in reality there are a number of sub-industries and careers all under the umbrella of manufacturing.
“Project management, engineering, design engineering, purchasing, assembly and machining—these are just a few of the opportunities available in the industry,” said Miller.
According to Brown, “There are so many areas. Accounting. Management. I started on the production line pushing the pistons.”
Not only are the career options versatile, but they are also engaging and impactful. Cindy Liu, Director of Finance for TCCI, explains that “I am in the constant process to define and redefine my job description. I believe I can make a difference together with the global team. We speak different languages, operate on different time zones, and share different cultures, yet we work together to achieve our common goal.”
As a global company with diversity at its core, TCCI believes that it is not only the products but the people who make the company, and TCCI’s workforce mirrors its communities: dynamic, talented, and made up of both men and women with unique perspectives and innovative minds.
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