The Manufacturing Institute — the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers — announced that it will recognize Gabrielle Ferrara, Ferrara Manufacturing chief operating officer with a STEP Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry from the factory floor to the C-suite.
Gabrielle said, “I am honored to receive this award. At Ferrara Manufacturing, we continue to build our modern manufacturing organization by seeing the direct benefits of empowering our workforce and creating a positive, diverse, and passionate work environment and culture. I thank everyone on our team at Ferrara Manufacturing, my parents, and The Manufacturing Institute for supporting our vision for the future of American garment engineering.”
“Our company is built on excellence. Over half of our highly skilled and diverse team is women, and for the past 34 years we have been manufacturing in the United States, so we are thrilled to have one of our leaders represent all of us to be part of this prestigious group in the industrial space. It is vital that manufacturing continues to diversify our leadership base in order to create a more equitable and sustainable industry,” said Carolyn Ferrara, owner and co-founder, Ferrera Manufacturing.
The STEP Women’s Initiative is the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. STEP works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. The STEP Ahead Awards honor exceptional women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and alumnae programs. The stories of these women and the leadership they show will help inspire next-generation female leaders in manufacturing and support female talent already within the industry. In the program’s first five years, STEP Ahead Award winners impacted more than 300,000 individuals—from peers in the industry to school-age children.
The biggest challenge facing manufacturers continues to be the growing workforce crisis—the shortage of skilled talent to fill open positions. Manufacturers can close the skills gap by 50% simply by bringing 10% more women into the industry. Women account for about half of the U.S. labor force but represent less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce. STEP Ahead empowers and inspires women in the manufacturing industry. The goal is to build networks for women to have support in their industry and to elevate the role models that can motivate and mentor the next generation.