Advancing Women in Advanced Manufacturing

How might we involve the whole family to increase the number of women in advanced manufacturing careers?


The Challenge
In Northern Kentucky, Gateway Community & Technical College’s “Raise the Floor” program trained women for the advanced manufacturing workforce. The program, developed with Partners for a Competitive Workforce, meant to address the major workforce gap in Northern Kentucky, but the program struggled to attract and retain its female students. Gateway knew women with families faced a number of barriers to participating in these workforce programs, but they weren’t sure how to address those barriers.


The Approach 
We wondered what the career training program would look like if it were designed by women and their families. Together with our partners, we uncovered new ways to increase the number of women pursuing and succeeding in advanced manufacturing careers in Northern Kentucky. Read the full case study.


The Details 
Our work included:

  • Conducting over 40 interviews with women, social workers, employers and other stakeholders within the advanced manufacturing sector
  • Convening mothers, social workers, educators and workforce development professionals for brainstorming sessions
  • Developing two prototypes based on ideas from the brainstorming session
  • Testing the prototypes with Gateway


The Impact

Not only were ideas generated to address the barriers facing women, several ideas were tested and piloted.



Partners for a Competitive Workforce
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Gateway Community & Technical College
Ascend: The Aspen Institute



Community-Centered Design



Qualitative research
Idea generation
Prototype implementation



2014 – 2015

After leaving the ideation session I felt empowered; I had no idea that my opinion could make such a difference. Heck, I didn’t even think that being a woman in manufacturing made me special. But after speaking with everyone in the group I knew what we were doing was going to make some big changes! Because of this I hope that a new group of women can be targeted, and not overlooked.

Ideation Participant

Got a question about this project?

Get in Touch