NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. Aug. 16, 2018 - You may find "man" in the word "manufacturing," but at Brunswick Boat Group's New York Mills operation, where they manufacture Lund and Crestliner boats, they are reaching out to more women to join the ranks on the shop floor.
More than 20 percent of the plant's current workforce are women, and that number is steadily increasing, according to Lynda Everson, human resource manager at the facility.
"So far this year, women account for 25 percent of our new hires," Everson explained, "with all contributing to our boatmaking efforts."
Attracting new employees to the New York Mills facility has been crucial during the past few years, as New York Mills has added Crestliner production, seen sales grow for both Lund and Crestliner, among the most popular aluminum boat brands, and to meet the need to backfill for employees as they retire.
Adding to the staffing challenge is a phenomenon affecting many manufacturers: a shortage of workers to fill positions. The National Manufacturing Institute, for example, estimates that over the next decade 3.5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. will need to be filled.
As a recent New York Times article cited, such shortages may be counterintuitive with the proliferation of automation and robotics in manufacturing, but the sustained economic recovery and the graying of the nation's manufacturing workforce has led to many positions going unfilled - a problem more acute in more sparsely populated rural areas, which may not have the services and amenities often found in larger towns and cities.
Everson saw the gender divide as a way to fill this gap. According to the National Manufacturing Institute, women represent 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force, but only 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce.
"We formed our Women in Manufacturing Group at New York Mills, and got to work," Everson explained. "Among its goals are to help members leverage their strengths for personal development as well as develop a network to generate ideas and share best practices of how we can improve both our own careers as well as better the plant's performance."
The group also endeavors to advocate for women to explore manufacturing as a career by serving as "ambassadors" in their community and social circles. It also seeks to engage and mentor young women to learn about opportunities in manufacturing. Recently, the Women in Manufacturing group invited a number of young women in the area to be their guests and tour the New York Mills facility, learning from Lund/Crestliner employees about their work responsibilities and skills, and finishing the day with some fun time - an Art Pub - during which participants were asked to share their impressions with original paintings.
Beyond these efforts, the New York Mills operation is active in the community, seeking ways to help women enter and remain in the workforce. As an example, Lund/Crestliner is cooperating with local officials to establish additional day care facilities to help working mothers. That effort is currently seeking certification from state agencies.
"Manufacturing may be a traditionally male occupation, but as women proved in WWII when six million of them, one in four at the time, accounted for nearly 40 percent of those churning out wartime production, 'Rosie the Riveter' also has a place in today's workforce," Everson concludes. "Our first order of business at New York Mills is to make sure that we have a skilled and capable workforce - male or female - but we just want to make sure that women know they are not only needed in manufacturing, but they are also most welcome."
About Brunswick New York Mills Operation
Building two of the most recognized brands in the fishing boat industry, collectively the Lund and Crestliner heritage represents over 140 years of boat-building innovation and quality. Generations of employee expertise and state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities combine to create fishing, hunting and utility boats of superior design, craftsmanship and lasting value. Lund and Crestliner are owned by Brunswick Corporation, the largest marine manufacturer in the world. For additional information about our boats and our brands visit www.lundboats.com and www.crestliner.com.
Since 1948, Lund has been building boats from the heart of lakes country in New York Mills, Minn. Built with professional grade materials to withstand a lifetime of use, Lund Boats are guide tested and wilderness proven, and demanded by more camps, resorts, fishing guides and professionals throughout North America. Whether the preference is aluminum or fiberglass, each boat is carefully designed with fishing features and optimal fishing layouts in mind. They're engineered for maximum performance and superior boat control to effortlessly stay on the breaks and catch more fish, delivering The Ultimate Fishing Experience. Lund Boats-Built by Fishermen for Fishermen. For more information, visit www.lundboats.com.
Located in Otsego, Minn., Crestliner boats and pontoons are crafted with an uncompromising mix of functional design, all-welded aluminum construction and a relentless commitment to excellence. Since 1946, Crestliner has been making boats forged with strength and defined by durability. As a worldwide leader, Crestliner continues to redefine the industry with boats built to last. A testament to our quality and craftsmanship, Crestliner has received the CSI Award of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction for Aluminum Outboard Boats for 11 consecutive years. Learn more about Crestliner and its line of boats by visiting www.crestliner.com.
Headquartered in Mettawa, Ill., Brunswick Corporation's leading consumer brands include Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines; MotorGuide trolling motors; Ancor, Attwood, BEP, Blue Sea Systems, Czone, Del City, Garelick, Lenco Marine, Marinco, Mastervolt, Mercury, NAUTIC-ON, Park Power, Progressive Industries, ProMariner, Quicksilver and Whale marine parts and accessories; Land 'N' Sea, Kellogg Marine, Lankhorst Taselaar, Payne's Marine and BLA parts and accessories distributors; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Brunswick Commercial and Government Products, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Thunder Jet and Uttern boats; Life Fitness, Hammer Strength, Cybex, Indoor Cycling Group and SCIFIT fitness equipment; and Brunswick billiards tables, accessories and game room furniture. For more information, visit http://www.brunswick.com.
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