The only national trade association dedicated to providing year-round support to women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry came to Georgia Southern University recently to learn about manufacturing in Bulloch County.
The Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing were the guests of the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing at Georgia Southern, who showed off the engineering facilities. Following a luncheon on campus with guest speakers from Great Dane, participants toured the Great Dane facility in Statesboro.
Alyssa Rumsey, project manager for the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing and a board member for Women in Manufacturing, said that about 40 women attended the event.
“What is important for this event is the exposure to the types of education that are offered to address the manufacturing workforce,” Rumsey said. “To show all the efforts to help manufacturers meet their needs.”
Allison Giddens, director of operations for Win-Tech Inc. in Kennesaw, said that attendance was encouraged for women in the industry, but also for those on the periphery of the industry, to gain knowledge on the changes in manufacturing over the years.
“It’s different from what it used to be,” she said. “We wanted to gain a perspective from the education side to see what Georgia Southern is doing to support the industry.”
Giddens said the participants were especially pleased to find that the classes were not all men.
According to research as shared by Women in Manufacturing, women comprise nearly half of the US labor force, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce.
“We were watching for female faces,” Giddens said. “After one of the young women shared in class about a project she was working on, some of us asked her what her next plans were upon graduation. When she said she was actively job-searching, I told her, ‘You’ve got 15 headhunters in the room.’”
Dr. Fadwa Dababneh, assistant professor of manufacturing and engineering in Georgia Southern’s College of Engineering and Computing, agreed that women in the field of engineering are in the minority, especially faculty members, and she hoped the presence of Women in Manufacturing participants encouraged female students into engineering and manufacturing fields.
“This event is a great way to build a network for future project and research opportunities, and not just limited to our female students, for us to work together with the WIM organization,” Dababneh said.