Recruiting opportunities that target particular groups of students can combat stereotypes and offer girls and other underrepresented groups in STEM a chance to consider and explore careers in advanced manufacturing. These environments also contribute to a sense of collaboration and community, and provide an opportunity to explore a pathway in a low-risk environment where their performance is not evaluated.
Advanced manufacturing needs employees with advanced manufacturing skills, competencies girls can attain and provide. Girls tend to gravitate toward careers that allow them to be creative, to work in a caring field that provides a positive benefit to society, and to collaborate in teams. Creativity, caring and collaboration are the three C’s that have been connected to motivation and engagement for many students, especially women and students of color.
Try focusing your activities and events on the three C’s to demonstrate how advanced manufacturing professionals can make a world of difference and help shape the economic future in the United States. For every $1.00 spent in advanced manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the U.S. economy, making advanced manufacturing the sector with the largest multiplier. Contributing to this economic sector can have a big, positive impact on the country’s economy. Also, manufactured products are essential to our health, happiness and safety, and they are often produced in creative and collaborative environments where advanced manufacturing professionals engage in critical and creative problem solving to turn ideas into reality. Provide opportunities for girls to work together in teams to practice skills and produce something, so they can experience the thrill of STEM. Perhaps have them invent a new product together and discuss the many steps and teams involved in transforming an idea to a product. Perhaps have them work in teams to create beautiful metal designs on a laser cutter they can give as a gift.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX regulations prohibits single sex classes in institutions of vocational education that receive federal funds, so be sure to consult counsel before embarking on any single sex activities.