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Address the gender gap to close the skills gap

Manufacturers need to look for more female candidates and ensure that the workplace culture will be accepting and supportive of their presence, say women involved in various Oregon-based manufacturing efforts. "Employers need to think more about how much we might save when people feel like they can stay in their jobs -- how much knowledge, training and expertise you retain in the process," says Roberta Hunte, who teaches at Portland State University and formerly worked at Oregon Tradeswomen.

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