MI Insider

Future Creators: Transportation Central Advances Industry Awareness

As part of Careers on Track, the MI and Union Pacific Railroad partnered with Everfi® to create and launch the Transportation Central module on Future Creators (Endeavor) – a digital education program giving middle and high-school students an opportunity to explore STEM careers. Using interactive gameplay, students explore a variety of professions, encounter real-world scenarios and learn new ways to solve common problems while interfacing with diverse employees along the way.

Transportation Central is an immersive simulation focused on careers in transportation, distribution and logistics (TDL). Other modules explore concepts in advanced manufacturing, data driven decision making and more. Read about how the MI and Union Pacific Railroad are leading the way to raise awareness and inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing and TDL in the Transportation Central Case Study.

Unlimited access to Future Creators (Endeavor) is provided at no cost to select schools thanks to Union Pacific’s support. Contact Jen White, the MI’s Director of Student Engagement, to learn how you can help the MI provide Future Creators (Endeavor) to more students in schools across the U.S.

MI Insider

New MI Report: Manufacturers Make Strides in Addressing DE&I Priorities 

Since the MI’s inaugural DEI benchmarking survey, conducted in partnership with Keybridge and released in October 2021, manufacturers have taken active steps to improve DEI in the workplace. The MI has recently surveyed manufacturers again to highlight current practices and attitudes around DEI in our new DEI Benchmarking in Manufacturing Report. Our updated survey lays out how manufacturing employers are approaching their companies’ initiatives in new ways. The report provides helpful information on the state of DEI in the manufacturing industry and recommendations for employers to use as they improve on progress made over the last two years. Check it out here.


  • 72% of manufacturers agreed that improving and maintaining DEI was a key focus for their company – and many of them have been taking tangible steps towards that goal.
  • More than 60% of respondents reported that the representation of women within their companies has increased in the past 5 years.
MI Insider

Second Chance Hiring Toolkit for Local Communities

The MI released our latest resource: the Second Chance Hiring Toolkit for Local Communities. Through interviews with employers, partners, and local stakeholders, as well as a review of other efforts across the country, the MI developed the toolkit to support local leaders– or “hub organizations”– to design and implement multi-employer second chance collaboratives in their region. The intended audience for this toolkit includes state and local manufacturing associations, chambers, and other locally-based organizations to build and implement a place-based second chance employment pilot program. Employers can also reference this toolkit for direction on how to get started with their own second chance hiring journey.

If you have questions, please reach out to Pooja Tripathi, Director of Workforce Initiatives at [email protected] for more information.


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Solution Series: Recruitment Workshop

Solution Series: Recruitment Workshop

The MI recently convened a group of manufacturers to discuss recruitment challenges and identify ways to address them. After hearing from experts on topics ranging from the current labor market, second chance hiring, the gig economy and the importance of speed in recruitment, participants broke out into small groups to discuss the top challenges they were facing and brainstorm solutions.


  • Determine who owns what part of the recruitment process as well as how team members will be held accountable.
  • Advertise the position effectively, streamline the application process and screen as many people in as possible.
  • Invest time and resources into sourcing talent.

Check out our recap article of the event here. Stay tuned for an in-depth summary report highlighting the solutions that manufacturers are testing and implementing to address recruitment challenges.

MI Insider

Professional Development Resource: Building Your Personal Brand

On February 16, the Manufacturing Institute held a professional development virtual event on building your personal brand, presented by branding expert Cat O’Shaughnessy Coffrin, Founder and CEO of CaptivatingCo.

View the recording here and the slide deck here.


Your personal brand consists of:

  • Proposition: The value you create
  • Persona: Your X factor
  • Purpose: What drives you

Steps you can take to start building your personal brand:

  • Self-Reflect: What role do you play on your team? What skills do you bring? Look for patterns in your career on how you approach your job and get things done.
  • Ask For Feedback: Connect with your colleagues and friends and ask how they would describe the attributes, attitudes and skills you bring to the table. This external perspective is valuable for shaping your narrative.
  • Connect and Reconnect: Remember that teacher who had a profound impact on you? Or a former colleague who you lost touch with? Reach out to them and schedule a coffee to catch up and remind yourself how many people are in your corner wanting you to succeed.
  • Revisit Your LinkedIn: There are two simple step you can take right now to enhance your online presence; make sure your ‘About’ section is drafted in the first person (LinkedIn is a social platform!) and identify, follow and engage with leaders of topics that interest you.
MI Insider

Creators Connect Launched

As part of the Creators Wanted campaign, the NAM and the Manufacturing Institute have partnered with FactoryFix, a leading one-stop solution for manufacturing recruitment, to launch Creators Connect.

The digital career-resources platform aims to address the skills gap and misconceptions about the manufacturing industry, providing manufacturers with a powerful new tool to help build their workforce.

What it is: The platform, which is housed on Creatorswanted.org and powered by FactoryFix, is free to use. It is the first and only unified platform where users can search and explore job openings, career pathways and job training programs across the entire manufacturing sector.

  • With more than 400,000 listed job openings, Creators Connect builds on the success of its parent initiative, Creators Wanted.
  • It is also working to boost the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and to increase the positive perception of the manufacturing industry among parents and career influencers.

Learn more about how to get the most out of Creators Connect by visiting the FAQ page here or reading an article on the launch here. Questions? Contact the Creators Wanted team here.

MI Insider

What to Know about Hiring Military Talent

With 200,000 people transitioning out of the military annually in addition to veterans, reservists and military spouses, the military population represents a highly skilled workforce. At a recent roundtable, panelists from Smithfield Foods, Dow and National Gypsum discussed how the manufacturing industry can leverage this population’s strengths.

Key Insights

  • Manufacturers should identify a leader with military background in their organization to support the hiring process, particularly in parsing military and manufacturing lingo in job descriptions and resumes.
  • Manufacturers should communicate if they will accept military experience as an equivalency to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in their job descriptions.
  • Networking can be the determining factor in getting an interview and landing a job offer. The MI will be hosting a virtual hiring fair in late February. Keep an eye on our website for more updates!
  • Employee resource groups can be an excellent resource for newly hired military talent and can advocate for population-specific needs.

Read the full article here.

MI Insider

How Manufacturers Should Pursue Second Chance Hiring

With one-in-four Americans possessing a prior conviction, manufacturers can access a diverse and motivated talent pool by pursuing second chance hiring.

At the Manufacturing Institute’s inaugural Workforce Summit held back in October, panelists from the MI, Saint-Gobain, JBM Packaging and Envoy shared tips on how to create such hiring programs and the benefits they’ve seen so far.

Key Insights  

  • Data shows that second chance individuals are retained longer, have higher productivity and engage in more training than the average individual.
  • Start with a pilot program, then scale it up. It’s important to select a site that has the right culture, plant manager and HR support.
  • Build a framework that allows the company to fairly evaluate an individual’s background.
  • Offer support systems and partner with community organizations to meet the unique needs of this population.

Read the full article here


MI Insider

How Will AI Impact the Manufacturing Workforce? 

AI is changing the way manufacturers are doing business from the production line to the back office and across the supply chain. At the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Manufacturing in 2030 Project: Let’s Talk about AI event, panelists from the MI, Pella Corporation, and Deloitte Consulting discussed the potential impacts of AI on the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.

Key Insights 

  • By leveraging data and utilizing efficient systems, AI will improve communication, increase collaboration across disciplines and stimulate innovation.
  • Manufacturers need to invest in upskilling programs to make the AI integration process smoother.
  • Start building partnerships with local schools, community colleges and technical/vocational schools to develop talent pipelines that will meet the skills needs of the future.
  • While AI will increase efficiencies and reduce repetitive tasks, humans will continue to play an important role in the manufacturing process.
MI Insider

Breaking Barriers: Childcare and Flexibility Solutions for the Manufacturing Industry

Earlier this month, the MI released a new report outlining the top challenges women are facing and what workplace policies have the most impact to recruit and retain female talent.

On December 6, the MI hosted a webinar with industry leaders to explore specific examples of childcare and flexibility solutions. Panelists included Rose Lee, President and CEO of Cornerstone Building Brands, Aneesa Muthana, President, CEO and Co-Owner of Pioneer Services, Denise Rutherford, former Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Senior Vice President, 3M (retired), C-Suite Executive and Board Director, and Denita Wilhoit, Vice President Corporate Shared Services at Toyota.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritizing a diverse workplace is key to attracting workers, improving productivity and employee retention and growing a company’s bottom line.
  • Women represent a sizable talent pool that manufacturers cannot ignore. As it stands, women make up more than 29% of the manufacturing workforce. By raising the percentage of women in the manufacturing sector to 35% of total employment in the sector, there could be 800,000 more female manufacturing employees. This would be enough to fill every open job in the manufacturing sector today.
  • Companies that have increased worker flexibility have seen a positive correlation with the ability to attract new employees and retain current staff. New policies have included part-time options, adjusted shift schedules and opportunities for remote work.
  • Both men and women cite lack of childcare options/support to be an issue, though evidence suggests this is a larger issue for women. Workplace flexibility can aid in addressing this challenge, though some companies are exploring subsidized or onsite solutions.
  • Providing job training/continuing education opportunities, developing employee resource groups and establishing mentorship programs also help with retention and recruitment. Implementing policies that can help advance and train a diversity of leaders shows a commitment to employee growth, making the company a more attractive place to stay—or join.

View the recording here and learn best practices on how to create more inclusive workplace environments.

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