Manufacturing is crucial to the strength of Minnesota’s economy and its jobs offer many opportunities for family-sustaining employment. Currently, manufacturing accounts for 11% of all statewide employment and makes up about 14% of the state’s gross domestic product. In 2021, the average annual salary for workers in manufacturing was $74,630, 10% higher than across all industries in Minnesota. The industry currently employs more than 310,000 people with a variety of educational backgrounds. The demographic makeup of workers in manufacturing today is one of the most monolithic, with white, non-Hispanic workers making up 83% of its workforce. A large majority, 70%, is male. In the coming years and decades, Manufacturing will need to welcome a more diverse workforce to meet future demand, given the rapid changes in Minnesota’s demographics. The next generation of workers will be a much more racially and ethnically diverse workforce than in the past, and this means that Manufacturing, like all other industries, will need to tap into groups that may not have been previously targeted for recruitment.
Many manufacturers, educational institutions and other organizations are working together to provide an entry into the Manufacturing industry for residents from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and other under-represented communities. Between 2018 and 2038, the number of Minnesotans from BIPOC communities is expected to grow by 61.4%. The number of white, non-Hispanic residents will decrease by 1.6% during the same time frame. As Minnesota continues to grow in racial and ethnic diversity, the need for the industry to diversify its workforce to meet employer need will become more imperative. Many Minnesota manufacturers realize that they will need to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace in order to access the talent they need to grow and succeed in the marketplace.
DiMi: aimed at increasing employment among under-represented talent pools in manufacturing
The Diversity in Manufacturing Initiative (DiMi) is a collaboration of employers, industry associations, educators, partners, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) aimed at increasing the number of BIPOC and other under-represented job seekers in the manufacturing industry.
This employer-led group will have representation from throughout the state. DEED's role will be as facilitator, ensuring the development and implementation of this initiative. The basis of this initiative will focus on involvement from partners including philanthropic organizations, workforce development stakeholders, and parents & community leaders.
DiMi operates on three levels (see graphic below).
- Level one focuses on increasing onboarding opportunities for those entering or re-entering the industry.
- Level two focuses on career development and retaining the workforce.
- Level three focuses on entrepreneurship. This optional level is for those who desire to go from veteran worker to business owner in the industry. Access to resources to build or acquire a business will be made available.
DiMi held its kick-off presentation on Thursday, June 9, 2022. The audience consisted of manufacturers, educators, and industry associations. Watch a recording of DiMi’s kick-off presentation.
Adesewa Adesiji is DEED’s Workforce Strategy Consultant in the Metro Area: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. Della Ludwig is DEED’s Workforce Strategy Consultant for Central Minnesota: Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Renville, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties.