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Empowering Women in Manufacturing: A POV of Our Day at the Missouri State Capitol


This blog was written from the POV from Cambridge’s Marketing Content Strategist, Brittni Walters.

Last month, in honor of International Women's Day, my colleague Emilie Engerski (Engineer I) and I were thrilled to join a group of strong women from across Missouri to represent the manufacturing industry at the Missouri State Capitol. It was all part of Women in Manufacturing Day, an event put together by the Missouri Association of Manufacturing (MAM) Executive Director Michael Eaton, Marketing Manager Andrew LeGrand, and Marketing Specialist Alyssa Andrews. Our mission was to meet with House Representatives, Senators, Governor Michael Parson, and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe to discuss the state of manufacturing in Missouri.

Now, I must admit, my only other visit to the capital was a quick pitstop on my way to a haunted tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary. So, needless to say, this trip was a lot more fruitful, productive, and educational.

The day started bright and early with a meet and greet at a local coffee shop. After downing my second cup of joe, I was greeted by a fabulous group of ladies also attending the event. Our group was diverse, with women from all over Missouri holding various positions, from Account Executives, to Engineers, to Sales Representatives.

Then it was time for the real deal. We had the pleasure of meeting Missouri Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, and State Treasurer, Vivek Malek. Bailey talked about his fight against the Biden Administration's "Waters of the United States" plan that tries to expand federal authority over water, and Malek shared his incredible journey from Rohtak, India to Missouri. The man arrived with just two suitcases and $300 in his pocket, but now he's the State Treasurer. Talk about inspiring!

Next up, we hit the beautiful Missouri State Capitol building, which is arguably the most beautiful of its kind, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little biased. While I knew what to expect in terms of beauty and architecture, I had no idea what to expect when it came to taking on my role as an active Missouri constituent outside of the voting ballot. Michael Eaton was very quick to ease any uncertainty and wisely reassured everyone that not only are we welcome, but we’re needed. These state legislatures work for us, so they want to hear what we have to say. Once we all understood that concept, it was time to get to work!

Our first stop was supposed to be Rep. Don Mayhew, but he wasn't available, so we set our sights on Speaker of the House, Rep. Dean Plocher. We then made our way to the Governor's office, which was stunning, by the way. Governor Parson took the time to walk us through his thoughts on Missouri's infrastructure and the critical importance of maintaining our state's roads, bridges, and waterways for future success. We then paid Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe a visit, where he introduced us to his crowning initiative, Buy Missouri. This program recognizes and promotes Missouri companies and manufacturers to the public, ultimately strengthening our state's economy.

It was amazing to hear that our state legislators are actively working to support and promote manufacturers, which is crucial for bringing glory and dignity back into the industry. This is especially important for women, who are currently underrepresented in the manufacturing workforce. According to the U.S Department of Commerce "while women make up 47% of the American workforce, only 30% of the 15.8 million people employed in United States manufacturing are women and only 1 in 4 manufacturing leaders are women. This needs to change, and manufacturers risk missing out on highly skilled workers by not recruiting women, who earn more than half of the associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees awarded in the United States."

While the Cambridge needle is actively moving in the right direction, we are not immune to the fact there is still more work to be done. That’s why we are committed to diversifying our workforce as part of our continuous improvement culture and including it as a priority initiative in our 1, 3, and 10-year plans for the future.

Women's inclusion in the industry will bring a much-needed infusion of new ideas, different perspectives, and talent. If you’re not sure where to start, might I highly suggest joining local manufacturing associations, like the Missouri Association for Manufacturing. Associations like MAM can be a valuable resource for advocacy and networking. Step by step, through our collaborations with state associations, legislative bodies, and by applauding the efforts of manufacturers who embrace diversity in their workforce, we can rest assured that we are playing a crucial role in restoring glory and dignity back into the manufacturing industry!

If you are a woman looking to join the manufacturing industry or know someone who is, we invite you to explore the possibilities of joining the Cambridge team! Click here to learn more.