Women in TMA revive fundraising


Amanda Dunlap, the 2020 Chairman of Women in TMA Committee (WTMA), knows firsthand the challenges of being a mom while working in her family’s manufacturing shop.

“I first carried our son in a BabyBjorn around here, and then later, did the same with our daughter,” Dunlap told TMA News Bulletin.
“Women tend to be the ones that care for the children, and that’s one reason the WTMA is offering grants to moms growing their
manufacturing careers.”

Dunlap is a third-generation manufacturer, president of Abrasive West LLC in Bartlett, Illinois. She has taken on the task of reviving
the WTMA’s effort to build a grant fund that can be used by women in manufacturing in a variety of ways, including paying for them to learn more skills or subsidizing child care when they’re attending those classes.

The committee raised $20,000 two years ago due to a great response from TMA members, Dunlap said. Nine women in
manufacturing benefitted from the funds that year.

In 2020, the group had only one application.

“Last year, the focus was not as much on continuing education. It was more like batten down the hatches, and think about surviving
the COVID crisis,” she said. “In hindsight, in would have been a great time to focus on more training, but hindsight is always 20/20.”
Now the WTMA is honing in on a two-pronged outreach to help women in manufacturing: 1. Raise funds to offer grants to women
again in 2021, and 2. Encourage those that would qualify to apply for the grants.

“We need help from TMA members to encourage women in manufacturing,” Amanda said. “We need them to make a tax deductible donation to the grant fund. And we really want those women to find out that WTMA is offering funds they could use for child care, tools and other necessities to develop their careers.”

Dunlap’s own company of eight employees boasts that nearly half are women – developing careers in manufacturing including quality control, shipping, receiving, and inventory.

“While women make up fifty percent of the workforce, up until recently, most women did not consider careers in manufacturing.
We’re urging more and more women into manufacturing one person at a time. If the WTMA could appeal to eight women this year, we could financially help them with their career challenges,” she said.

For more information on donating to WTMA’s Grant Fund or requesting an application for one of the 2021 WTMA Grants, please
email info@tmaillinois.org