CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership welcomed hundreds of people from across the country who converged on Hartford this week for the 2017 Women in Manufacturing Summit.

Partnership program manager Deb Presbie greeted several hundred attendees during the summit's Sept. 14 morning session at the Connecticut Convention Center.

Women in manufacturing: CBIA's Deb Presbie
CBIA's Deb Presbie addresses the 2017 Women in Manufacturing Summit.

"As the largest statewide business organization, CBIA is committed to ensuring that our state and our members can compete regionally, nationally, and globally," Presbie told attendees.

"We provide our members with respected advocacy at the state Capitol, innovative employee benefit programs, management services in human resource benefits, and environmental health and safety.

"And last but not least, we ensure that they have the skilled talent they need through the CBIA Education & Workforce Partnership."

Helping Job Seekers

Presbie works with adults from various backgrounds to connect them with manufacturers and other employers who need to build a skilled workforce.

Presbie's responsibilities include assisting women train for and land jobs in the transportation, distribution, and logistics sector—such as truck drivers or heavy equipment operators—that are traditionally held by men.

I am always astounded by the experience, expertise, and the great wealth of knowledge each of you possess.
— Women in Manufacturing founder Allison Grealis
"Specifically, these job seekers have the opportunity to earn a credential and the core competencies employers are looking for," she said.

The partnership has been involved in this work for decades, working with educational institutions like the Hartford Public Schools, the state technical high schools, the state college and university system, and employers like TRUMPF, Pegasus, and Dyno Nobel, to name a few.

Women in Manufacturing

The turnout at this week's summit was in contrast to the inaugural event in Cleveland in 2011 when Women in Manufacturing was a fledgling organization.

The group now boasts nearly 900 member companies with chapters in 14 states.

"The work we are doing is so important," said Allison Grealis, founder and president of Women in Manufacturing.

"I am always astounded by the experience, expertise, and the great wealth of knowledge each of you possess."

While women make up 49% of all American workers, they only account for 29% of the manufacturing workforce.

Women In Manufacturing promotes and expands the important role women have in American manufacturing as well as providing networking, mentoring, and the sharing of ideas.