The National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute is now accepting nominations for the 2019 STEP Ahead Awards to honor outstanding women in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers.

The STEP program is a key component of the Institute’s drive to address the workforce shortage crisis facing U.S. manufacturing, which is in part driven by the underrepresentation of women in the industry.

Upward of 2 million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled by 2025, yet women only account for 29% of the manufacturing workforce. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in STEP careers and recognize women at all levels of manufacturing.

“I hope you will consider nominating a peer or colleague for this prestigious award," Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee said. "Not only is this an incredible way to honor the best of the best in the industry today, but it also honors their achievements further by empowering them to support and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

"We know that STEP Ahead has made a difference already. STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals and counting in just five years, from peers in the industry to school-aged children, and I’m sure our nominees this year will help inspire many more.”

In 2019, the Institute will honor 100 women as well as 30 Emerging Leaders, a category that recognizes women under the age of 30 who have achieved unique accomplishments early in their careers. Recipients will be invited to attend an award ceremony on April 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C., and to also attend a two-day professional development program.

Nominations are now open through Oct. 5, 2018. Visit to nominate an outstanding female leader in the industry.