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A Foundation for Success

Catherine (Cat) Ross, AMT director of community engagement, was recently re-elected to serve her second term on the Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation board.
Apr 12, 2024

No matter what you are building, you have to start with a solid foundation. The Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation (WiMEF) is advancing women in the manufacturing workforce by focusing on building core competencies to increase access to leadership roles. WiMEF is the 501(c)3 partner organization to the Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM), the only national trade association dedicated to supporting, promoting, and inspiring women in manufacturing.  

Catherine (Cat) Ross, the director of community engagement at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, was recently re-elected to serve her second term on the WiMEF board. Ross says she is proud to be a part of the 21-member board that is committed to leadership development for women at all stages of their manufacturing careers.  

“Women still make up roughly one-third of the manufacturing workforce and hold about one-quarter of leadership roles,” Ross says. “It has been inspiring to be a part of this network of incredible thought leaders who are moving the needle at their companies and in the industry toward more inclusive workplaces and better representation of women.” 

“AMT is thrilled to have Cat serving on the Foundation board again — further cementing our connection with WiM and our mutual dedication to building the workforce of tomorrow,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “Cat has shown an unyielding devotion to workforce development during her tenure at AMT — from working with kids at the IMTS Smartforce Student Summit to promoting diversity across the workforce.” 

Developing Production 

WiMEF offers education programs to help women develop the skills and acumen necessary to move into manufacturing leadership roles. In addition to a leadership institute and management development program, the foundation leads a program to empower women in production.  

“The course for women in production has absolutely exploded since its launch,” Ross notes. “It helps give production level workers the skills to move to the next level. The graduation ceremonies are so moving because these women see real career paths in manufacturing for the first time.” 

Building Networks 

Being a part of the WiMEF board has helped Ross connect with more women throughout the industry — increasing the network of IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show with forward-thinking companies and women in leadership roles. (Owned and operated by AMT, IMTS is the largest manufacturing technology show and marketplace in the Western Hemisphere. IMTS 2024 takes place September 9-14 at McCormick Place in Chicago.) 

Creating a Blueprint 

IMTS and WiMEF share a common goal of getting more women in manufacturing at every level. Attendees at IMTS 2024 will have the opportunity to participate in Elevate: Women Make Manufacturing Move, a program designed to both recognize the impact of women in the industry and foster connections among women.  

“A lot of what WiMEF does is establish a blueprint on how to navigate and progress in an industry that wasn’t historically made for you,” Ross concludes. A blueprint is, after all, the start of a solid foundation — a foundation for success. 

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Author
Bonnie Gurney
Vice President, Strategic Content & Partnerships
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