Bethlehem-area businesses urging women to pursue manufacturing careers

Bethlehem-area businesses are urging women to pursue careers in manufacturing.

The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce is working with SABIC and Owens Corning to spread the word that manufacturing – in their words – is not the "dirty, dangerous, dull profession" many of us picture.

According to the National Institute for Standards and Technology, "American manufacturers are facing a looming shortage of 2.4 million workers by 2028 so now is the perfect time for women to think about pursuing a career in manufacturing and all the jobs associated with it."

Owens Corning employee Casey Griner – who played Division One soccer at Bucknell – says "I love working in manufacturing because it is all about collaboration and teamwork. There are common goals in the plant that every department and every employee has a piece of to achieve."

While women can find jobs in manufacturing with skills ranging from design and marketing to administration, finance or sales, manufacturing is becoming increasingly high-tech. By not recruiting women, manufacturers risk overlooking highly-skilled workers because they earn more than half of the college degrees awarded in the United States.

While women make up about 47% of the total workforce, they only make up about 30% percent of the 15.8 million people employed in manufacturing industries, and only one in four manufacturing leaders are women.

Base starting salaries for men and women at SABIC and Owens Corning, located just across the road from the SABIC plant, are $24 an hour. That translates to just under $50,000 a year.