SME and Women in 3D Printing join forces to build diverse manufacturing workforce

May 17, 2022

Nora Toure, founder of Women in 3D Printing (Courtesy Women in 3D Printing)
Nora Toure, founder of Women in 3D Printing (Courtesy Women in 3D Printing)

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), a non-profit professional association dedicated to advancing manufacturing, and Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP), a global organisation with a mission to close the gender gap in Additive Manufacturing, are partnering to attract and build a diverse next generation workforce to advance the AM industry.

“SME has been enabling the development and growth of the Additive Manufacturing industry since the late 1980’s and we continue to be inspired by its people and technology,” stated Robert Willig, CEO, SME. “Collaboration is crucial, and we are excited to embark on this strategic partnership with Women in 3D Printing, an organisation that shares our passion for promoting and advancing Additive Manufacturing and creating a more inclusive industry for everyone.”

Willig said combining SME’s 90 years of manufacturing experience, vast resources, and scope with Wi3DP’s passionate network and robust programmes will accelerate their shared mission to develop technology, connection, inclusivity, and opportunities to introduce the next generation to the benefits of a career in AM. This is an important step in closing the skills gap.

“It is important that the Additive Manufacturing industry is reflective of the real world, and we want to send a clear message that it is for everyone,” added Nora Toure, Founder, Women in 3D Printing. “We were looking for a partner to help us access even more people in the additive community in more ways, and we are proud to join SME, with its decades of expertise, on this important mission.”

With the aim of promoting, supporting, and inspiring women using AM technologies, Wi3DP seeks to foster a more diverse industry. In just seven years, Wi3DP has grown from a simple blog to one of the largest AM communities worldwide, with over 80 chapters in 36 countries.

The collaboration initially includes four initiatives:

  • TIPE 2023 Conference: Focused on Technology, Industry, People and Economics, this will now be co-produced and powered by SME and Wi3DP. This supports a shared goal of offering AM engagement and education year-round, including through digital platforms.
  • SME’s 2023 RAPID + TCT: SME and Wi3DP will launch the ‘Wi3DP Showcase’ at RAPID + TCT next year in Chicago. This important showcase will extend the value of TIPE with an in-person experience.
  • NextGen Mentorship Pilot: Recognising the importance of workforce development, with a shared commitment to the next generation, SME and Wi3DP will partner on a NextGen Mentorship pilot program, expanding on Wi3DP’s existing programme.
  • Diversity for Additive Manufacturing 2023 Annual Report: Wi3DP and SME will co-author this annual measure of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the AM industry. The report will look at how organisations are expanding and developing their workforce, while providing resources to make DEI accessible, understandable, and actionable.

To discover more about Women in 3D Printing, read our article in Metal AM magazine:

Why do we need Women in 3D Printing? The what, the who, and the why of the blog that became a movement

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