I am one who would rather work to make a change versus complain and hope someone else addresses the problem. I think all of us who have the ability to provide resources and support to our future have an obligation and duty to do so.

That is why I feel strongly about the time I spend serving on the California Workforce Development Board. Honestly I wish I had more business representatives at the table with me. This Board assists the Governor in setting and guiding policy in the area of workforce development. We make decisions that channel resources and money into the education and services that are helping to train and get residents of California jobs. Business needs to be part of the discussion as to what training best serves our needs. Especially in manufacturing where technology is changing the type of skillsets we need at such a rapid pace.

I am honored to serve as a special advisor to the WIPP Education Foundation Board and to bring my skillsets from a state and local level to a national level. What excites me even more is the focus on women. There is so much opportunity for women in manufacturing and engineering. These are great paying jobs. Women need to learn about the opportunities to be had and what skillsets and education they need to be relevant and successful.

Giving kids practical hands-on experiences during the K-12 years can be truly life changing. It opens their eyes to new possibilities. It teaches why STEM education matters to them and their futures. I get so excited when I hear kids say things like, “Wow, now I understand why I am taking math” or “I never knew women could work in manufacturing”. Their excitement is truly infectious. It is wonderful to see that level of energy around STEM and to see them being challenged mentally.

When it comes to college students, we love interns. We have had the pleasure of working with many interns through the years in various roles within engineering, production, and marketing. We have been graced with some really bright minds from UC Berkeley, University of Oregon, Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, and Cal State University Long Beach to name a few. Recently we have started the process to bring in interns from the engineering school at University of the Pacific. Internships are a win-win scenario – the student gets real world experience, a paycheck and resumé credibility. We get great minds with current state skillsets. They are creative and innovative and they help to keep our business relevant. It’s even better when they decide to come back and work for us after they graduate. That is always a fabulous feeling.

To support this BWG has been involved in FIRST robotics for 8 years. We are supporters at the national level as well as supporting local teams. It is the most rewarding money spent all year long. Nothing is better than seeing young minds actively solving problems, working collaboratively as a team, and getting excited by STEM. It truly gives me a renewed hope for our future.

It is also why we have always opened our doors to local school and kids programs. They need to see and touch what we do. The growing popularity of Manufacturing Day is a great way for kids across the country to get such an experience. It is coming up this year on Friday, October 2 and we will once again be excited to usher several groups of kids, teachers, and hopefully some parents through our facility.

As a certified woman-owned company I had the extreme pleasure of being part of a panel at the ASTRA STEAM Summit at Microsoft last year. This is a highly interactive two days that helps to inspire young women to be entrepreneurs in a STEAM based field. I am always saddened to see the limitations young women tend to put on their futures. Events like this shatter those barriers and supports young women in pursing their dreams.

I challenge all business owners to focus on where their future lies and spend time and resources making a difference in the lives of kids and those seeking jobs and new careers today. Help them to break down barriers. Help them to see the possibilities in front of them. Encourage them to go after their dreams, whether male or female. I truly believe that an engaged business community can truly change the world for the better.