Big Manufacturers Host Women in Manufacturing

Three of Alabama’s largest manufacturers next week kick off a series of workshops in Huntsville aimed at engaging more women to pursue careers in manufacturing.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama and Polaris are sponsoring the series, which begins with a panel discussion by leading women in north Alabama manufacturing on March 11 at Huntsville West, the co-working facility located in Huntsville’s Lowe Mill District.

Mazda Toyota is Alabama’s newest auto assembly plant, expected to employ 4,000 workers. TMMA is one of Toyota’s largest engine plants around the world. Polaris, with 1,500 employees, is a leading manufacturer of sports vehicles and specialty motorcycles.

Included on the panel, which begins at 6 p.m., are: Ellen McCarthy, vice president of government affairs at Polaris; April Mason, general manager of administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama; Michelle White, quality inspection manager at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, and Marsha Cantrell, senior analyst at Toyota Motor North America.

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The March 11 gathering will be followed by a monthly series of workshops throughout the year, including, on April 14, “Leadership Opportunities for Women in Manufacturing” presented by Polaris’ Naomee Santana, global manufacturing training manager. “Breaking Boundaries: Dealing with the Glass Ceiling and Pay Gap,” will be held on May 12, led by Hilary Claybourne, center director with the Small Business Development Council.

A complete roster of programs can be found at the website Urban Engine is a nonprofit dedicated to workforce and professional development.

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