A collaborative partnership between two associations checks a lot of mutually beneficial boxes. It engages more student members, advances workforce development, benefits the industry each group represents, and more.
Two noncompeting associations that have similar missions aimed at slightly different demographics came together to create a reciprocal student membership program. SME, an association that works to advance manufacturing and develop a skilled workforce, and Women in Manufacturing (WiM) recognized there was a lot of potential for finding opportunities and ways to work together.
“We’re both trying to accomplish similar things as mission-driven nonprofits around workforce development and preparing next-generation talent to enter the manufacturing workforce,” said Bob Willig, SME executive director and CEO.
How Does It Work?
The reciprocal memberships will allow students seeking education in manufacturing-related fields to pay one $40 fee to become student members of both associations, with access to the resources and networks of both. Other benefits now available to student members include:
- Access to exclusive newsletters, webinars, and podcasts from both WiM and SME
- Job boards and access to hiring employers
- Discounted registration to regional and national SME and WiM events
- Expanded networks of peers to share information and experience
Why Is It Effective?
By signing up with one association, student members gain access to two groups, along with access to the better part of 20,000 members if they sign up for the combined association membership.
“It goes to the core of our mission and values and principles as an association,” Willig said.
What’s the Benefit?
There is a large skills gap in the manufacturing workforce today, which could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. “The goal is to help develop and prepare more individuals to enter manufacturing-based careers,” Willig said. “And this gives us a broader audience with which to attract membership.”
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