U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) spoke Friday at a summit for female leaders in the manufacturing sector about the importance of diverse leadership, encouraging students and workers toward advanced manufacturing skill sets and strengthening the industry in the U.S.
This was the first time that the annual Women in Manufacturing conference, started in 2011, was held in New England, as Connecticut works to harness its booming aerospace and defense industries — and find enough workers to fill the jobs.
“American manufacturing has got to continue to be at the core of what we do. It’s been the core of Connecticut’s strength for centuries but it needs to be part of that future,” Esty said at the seventh annual Women in Manufacturing Summit at the Connecticut Convention Center. “What’s the reputation [of manufacturing]? Dirty, dark, and dangerous. … We need to help young people today understand” that today’s industry is different.
Many summit attendees, in addition to Esty herself, had family members that introduced them to the male-dominant world of manufacturing. She encouraged the audience to bring senior citizens or others with previous manufacturing experience into their workplaces to show them the conditions of manufacturing employment opportunities for their families — workplaces that Hoyer described as “cleaner than a NASA clean room.”
“Manufacturing is about making things, designing things, and getting them to work better,” Esty said in an interview. “The problems…
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