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ResourceMFG | Manufacturing Workforce Specialists
Managing diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing workforce.

The National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute have created a "Pledge for Action" with the goal of inspiring change and promoting equity in the manufacturing industry. By 2025, manufacturers who take the pledge commit to collectively taking 50,000 tangible actions to increase opportunities for underrepresented communities, with the goal of creating 300,000 pathways to job opportunities for Black people and all people of color. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34.8% of the manufacturing workforce is Black, Hispanic or Asian, while those groups make up 36.9% of American workers. Through this pledge, manufacturing will aim to reflect the diversity of the overall U.S. workforce by 2030.

In light of this initiative, here's a list of ways manufacturers can proactively work to increase diversity and inclusion in the industry:

1. Providing employee training.

Companies should offer comprehensive training on diversity and inclusion to all employees, including management, at every level. This is one of the most important things you can do to educate employees about unconscious bias, cultural competency and other topics that will help them understand how their own personal experiences can affect their interactions with others from different backgrounds.

2. Hiring and promotion practices.

In addition to training, manufacturing companies can also promote diversity and inclusion through their hiring and promotion practices. This includes making sure that all job openings are advertised publicly, in order to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds have equal access to those opportunities.

Furthermore, manufacturing companies should avoid subjective criteria in the hiring process that could be seen as discriminatory, such as demanding a specific academic background or experience in a certain field and instead focus more on the skills and abilities of each individual applicant.

3. Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

According to research by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, although 63% of manufacturing executives believe that their diversity and inclusion practices are effective, 70% of Black professionals and 59% of Asian professionals feel the opposite.

In order to create a culture that is welcoming and inclusive to all, manufacturers need to take a close look at the culture of their organization and make changes where necessary.

4. Establishing diversity and inclusion goals and metrics

Setting measurable goals and tracking them is a great way to measure the effectiveness of your diversity and inclusion efforts. When you know where you stand and how far you have to go, it's easier to take actionable steps toward achieving those goals. This can include setting diversity and inclusion goals for the representation of women and minorities in leadership roles, as well as the number of candidates from underrepresented groups who are being interviewed or placed on a hiring list.

5. Partnering with diversity and inclusion advocates

Additionally, manufacturing companies can support diversity and inclusion by partnering with organizations and groups that are focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. These groups can provide education, resources and advice for companies looking to improve their D&I programs.