Alexandria, La. – (March 2, 2020) – The Manufacturing Institute announced that it will award RoyOMartin Health Services Manager Collene Van Mol, BSN, COHN-S/CM with the Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.

Collene has extensive experience in worksite wellness, onsite clinic and occupational-health program development, OSHA compliance, and worker’s compensation and FMLA case management, as well as in leadership development. Instrumental in the creation of RoyOMartin’s wellness program, she also co-chaired the company’s efforts in the creation and 2011 opening of a patient-centered medical home primary-care clinic for employees and dependents, which now contains a pharmacy. Collene is active with a number of professional associations, boards, and committees pertaining to employee health, from the local to national levels.

“I am quite passionate about the unique specialty field of occupational-health nursing and its awe-inspiring purpose: to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of the workforce,” Collene explained. “I was very blessed to have other nurses in my community and state to mentor me when I began working as an occupational-health nurse in a manufacturing setting, and I have made it part of my personal mission to mentor and recognize other nurses, especially those who are new to the field.”

“The 2020 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders represent the exciting opportunities available in manufacturing and help inspire more women to pursue these careers,” said Teressa Szelest, 2020 Chair of STEP Ahead and President, Market and Business Development North America, BASF Corporation. “There is an evolution of the manufacturing workforce as more women enter into leadership roles, bringing innovative ideas and transforming how we work and increase productivity.”

“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing this gap by highlighting the stories of successful women in manufacturing and giving them a platform to encourage other women to join the industry and be role models for the next generation,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The women being honored demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth.”

The STEP Women’s Initiative is the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. STEP works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. The STEP Ahead Awards honor exceptional women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and associated leadership training program. The stories of these women and the leadership they show will help inspire next generation female leaders in manufacturing and support current female talent within the industry. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-aged children.

The biggest challenge facing manufacturers continues to be the growing workforce crisis. Manufacturers struggling to find enough qualified workers can close the skills gap by 50% simply by bringing 10% more women into the industry. Women account for ~1/2 of the U.S. labor force but represent less than ~1/3 of the manufacturing workforce.

On April 30, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

To view Collene’s STEP Ahead profile, click here.