WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today released a new report examining the role of women in American manufacturing. The report finds that manufacturing employment has grown by over 500,000 jobs in recent years, creating new opportunities for women in these fields. Klobuchar called for solutions to bring more women into the industry at a time when many manufacturers are looking for workers with the right skills and experience. Klobuchar will also be holding a Joint Economic Committee hearing on Wednesday to discuss the report’s findings and solutions.
“Manufacturing is key to moving our economy forward, and we need all of our country’s talent – both men and women – to fill the jobs of tomorrow that our businesses are creating today,” Klobuchar said. “We need to make sure that women have the skills and resources they need to succeed in these growing manufacturing industries.”
The report finds that over the past several years the manufacturing industry has consistently added jobs – between February 2010 and April 2013, employment in the sector grew by 530,000 jobs. Women currently make up 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce, indicating there is room for growth for more women to get involved in the field.
Today’s report proposes several possible ways to encourage more women to pursue careers in the industry, including increasing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education participation and proficiency for girls beginning as early as elementary school; equipping women with the skills employers need to prepare them for careers in growing segments of manufacturing through vocational and community college programs; and encouraging employers to develop mentoring programs for women in all areas of manufacturing, which can help improve retention rates.
The full report is available here.
Klobuchar has long called for an increased focus on ensuring students gain valuable skills in science, technology, engineering and math at an early age. She has introduced legislation to double the number of STEM schools in America and added an amendment to the immigration bill in the Senate that would fund STEM education by increasing visa fees.
Klobuchar has also promoted policies that strengthen manufacturing, including incentivizing research and development and simplifying the tax code to give businesses clarity and consistency. Klobuchar is a member of the President’s Export Council, which is the primary national advisory committee on exports.