MEDFORD, Ore. -- The U.S. Census Bureau says that women make up around one-third of the manufacturing workforce. This ranges from working production lines to running their own businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau says while they make up nearly half the working population in the U.S., women remain underrepresented in the manufacturing industry.
Now, Gianna Sewell, the owner of Medford Tools, is using her years of experience and connections to the community to help empower the next generation of female manufacturers.
Gianna Sewell has been working in and out of the manufacturing industry for the past 25 years.
"I liked working with our customers, dealing with all of our vendors and our sales reps. It’s just a good people business," said Sewell.
She told NewsWatch12 that while it's been a predominantly male-led industry, she started to see some changes once women were hired as sales reps.
"They started moving up in the workforce, actually taking seats on the board, and running the manufacturing companies," said Sewell.
Gianna is one of those women. She owns 51 percent of Medford Tools JBJ Inc., and is using her leadership role to bring some changes to the business.
"That’s a new step for Medford Tools, is that we actually have two women on the floor working with customers," said Sewell.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that while the industry is growing, it's also changing with advancements in technology. It encourages young women to pursue STEM education or training as they enter the workforce.
"When we were growing up we had those kinds of skilled classes in school, and they went away with that. They don’t do it anymore," said Sewell.
To help prepare the next generation of workers, Gianna is donating to organizations such as Walking Tall, CraterWorks MakerSpace, and Youth 715 Ministries.
"It’s helped to empower them, to give them self-confidence, and to help them learn a trade that they can use for the rest of their lives," said Sewell.