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New Tennessee Workforce Development Initiative Wants Women to Enter Manufacturing

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The newly founded Tennessee chapter of the Women in Manufacturing organization partnered with the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce to create a new workforce development initiative that encourages women to enter the manufacturing industry, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The new initiative, known as “Your Skills, Your Future,” is designed to create a network of female mentors to help encourage girls and young women who are considering a career in manufacturing. Today, only 29% of the manufacturing workforce in the county is female, said Sherry Crye, director of workforce development at the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re proud to be the pioneers of increasing that percentage and making manufacturing an inclusive environment for all, beginning here in our community,” she said.

Denise Rice, a veteran manufacturing manager and now a consultant and manufacturing director for the Tennessee Manufacturers Association, said providing role models and mentors is key to getting more women into factor jobs and dispelling misconceptions about 21st century manufacturing.

“There are perceptions that manufacturing is not attractive to women, and it’s not a place for women to have long and exciting careers,” she said. “Those perceptions are wrong and we need to continue to dispel those myths and encourage women and girls to pursue a career in manufacturing.”

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