Hire Diverse Talent or Risk Going Out of Business Featuring Equity Machine Works Founder Justin Sherman

Justin Sherman grew up in the shadow of one of Boeing’s largest manufacturing facilities in Everett, WA. However, it wasn’t until he started his career that he was exposed to the realities of manufacturing careers, including the lack of diverse talent in this field.

Now, as the Founder of Equity Machine Works SPC – a social enterprise committed to creating opportunity through support, training, and employment for disadvantaged populations – he’s helping to level the playing field.

In this episode, Justin explains the importance of attracting diverse and young talent to the manufacturing field as a whole. We hear about the limitations that come with a lack of diversity in the field, and actual statistics that prove there’s a skill gap that needs to be filled. He also shares tips on how to foster a diverse talent-friendly work environment and to eventually become part of the change.


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. The manufacturing industry needs to be able to access the largest labor pool possible.
  2. One of the biggest barriers that we have to attracting diverse and emerging talent is typical command and control structures.
  3. Gen Z ranks diversity initiatives as one of their top priorities for choosing a job role and career path.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Compensation is not only about money it’s thoughtful provisions and subsidies.”
  • “Taking a person-centric approach doesn’t only make work-life more functional, it gives access to more talent.”
  • “Looking at skilled positions like machinists and welders, both of them are about 95% male.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

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Concept Systems Inc. is an independent systems integrator and your automation solution partner for anything from antiquated control system retrofits to greenfield controls coordination and project management. Learn more about them on Episode 7 of Manufacturing Happy Hour.

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What We Discuss with Justin

  • What diversity means in this context
  • Why diversity is vital to the survival of businesses in the manufacturing industry
  • Ways to ensure diversity thrives within the field
  • How organizational culture attracts diverse and upcoming talent
  • Why embracing hybrid business models is beneficial
  • What characterizes a workplace that’s ready for diverse talent

Recommended Resources

  • Equity Machine Works SPC, a social enterprise committed to creating opportunity through support, training and employment for disadvantaged populations that are underrepresented within the manufacturing community
  • Orion Industries, a non-profit social enterprise that provides vocational services and employment to individuals with barriers to employment
  • Skills Inc., a self-supporting company offering a wide range of manufacturing jobs to people of all abilities
  • Pioneer Industries Manufacturing, a social enterprise specializing in aerospace part production
  • Hiring for Diversity, by Arthur Woods
  • Quinn’s Pub, hip gastropub in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for artisanal eats & a curated beer selection in a renovated bi-level storefront

Connect with Justin and Equity Machine Works

Justin’s LinkedIn | Equity Machine Works’ LinkedIn