May 25, 2017 by Parija Kavilanz

At This Manufacturing Company, Women Rule the Factory Floor
Millie Ramirez and Patricia Cancho are two of nine women handling production at Carey Manufacturing in Cromwell, CT.

ete Egan, the human resources manager, says he didn’t strive for gender parity: “I’d like to take credit for it, but it kind of just happened.”

As word spread “that we give everyone a fair shot,” Egan said Carey earned a reputation of embracing women workers.

The manufacturing industry is struggling with high demand for skilled workers and not enough supply. Egan frequently checks in with local technical schools and area community colleges to nab their best manufacturing graduates.

Carey Manufacturing specializes in making catches, latches and handles.

Trade schools and colleges, like A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford, where Ramirez was a student, are enrolling more women in manufacturing courses.

The male-female ratio has been about 50-50 the past four years, said Jim Clarke, head of Prince Tech’s automated manufacturing program. Clarke said he’s noticed that women in the program are particularly intrigued by the technical aspects of manufacturing.

Said Grealis, “Manufacturers are realizing diversity in the workforce is important. Change won’t happen overnight, but it is happening.”

Patricia Cancho, 21, was hired a year ago at Carey. She inspects products for quality and oversees operations worksheets. It’s her first manufacturing job. She’s also pursuing an associate degree in manufacturing from a community college.

“Before, people believed these jobs were only for guys. My generation looks at the world differently. Both women and men are capable of factory jobs,” she said.

- Patricia Cancho
Patricia Cancho is in quality inspection at Carey Manufacturing. She was honored as an exemplary students in her manufacturing program in college.

Ramirez and Cancho are committed to inspiring peers to give manufacturing a shot. Ramirez is setting an example in her own family: One younger sister and two cousins are enrolled in Prince Tech’s manufacturing program.

“My daughter is only 5,” Ramirez said. “But if she wants to follow in my footsteps one day, I will support her.”

Published: June 13, 2019