May 25, 2017 - A small, but powerful group of female manufacturing "thought leaders" from the Technology and Manufacturing Association met with Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti before her commencement speech for the TMA Related Theory class.
As an introduction, Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti shared her story of perseverance that caused her to rise above the challenges of young immigrant parents and poverty, to eventually become the first Hispanic, female Lieutenant Governor in the United States.
This was a story that other accomplished women in the group could certainly relate to. For example, Aneesa Muthana, president of Pioneer Service Inc., watched her parents overcome the barriers of culture and language to open their own machine shop in the early 80's. This instilled in Ms. Muthana the same kind of "can-do" attitude that led to her opening and running her own manufacturing company while still in her 20's.
The group talked about ways to inspire women and youth to consider careers in manufacturing. Nicole Wolter, Trustee for the TMA Educational Foundation, offered to collaborate with the Governor's office to advance this purpose. The foundation, funded by manufacturers, has a multi-million dollar budget to strengthen the upcoming workforce, prepare the next generation of manufacturers, support trade programs in the schools, develop skilled manufacturers and recruit the next generation of manufacturers.
Others shared what they were doing to accomplish these goals, such as hosting plant tours for students, visiting schools, developing apprenticeships, hiring interns, speaking at events and even encouraging their own children to consider manufacturing as a career option. All appreciated the Lt. Governor's resounding support of these efforts as well as her remarkable awareness of the plight facing manufacturers trying to fill vacancies and diversify their workforce.