Our Story

Our Purpose

    The Manufacturing Diversity Institute strives to ensure that individuals from under-served communities succeed in manufacturing careers and businesses.

    MDI carries out our purpose by:

    • Designing and building diverse manufacturing communities via diversity clusters
    • Being at the forefront of designing stronger and sustainable regional manufacturing workforce systems which includes building a customized manufacturing diversity workforce
    • Becoming a recognized accelerator manufacturing network.

    Leadership & Entrepreneurship as the foundation of economic change in Milwaukee

    Our Mission

      The Manufacturing Diversity Institute (MDI) creates a pioneering research-driven manufacturing diversity talent pipeline that increases the participation of people from Milwaukee’s African American and other communities of color in the manufacturing industry (as employees, innovators and entrepreneurs). The Manufacturing Diversity Institute achieves this goal through outreach, education, entrepreneurship and leadership development; and by fostering the pursuit of advanced manufacturing, scientific and engineering careers; and new ventures. The Manufacturing Diversity Institute emphasizes leadership and entrepreneurship as the foundation for economic change in Milwaukee’s Inner City.

      Foster innovation & entrepreneurship in underserved markets

      Our Vision

        Foster innovation and entrepreneurship in underserved business markets by creating a research-driven, diverse talent pipeline which intentionally and strategically links future leaders and entrepreneurs of color to advanced manufacturing regional economic development.

        The Case Study

        The Problem

        • Critical skills gap in manufacturing
        • People of color are the new majority
        • Children of poverty require unique education and training
        • Inner city education’s effect on entrepreneurship

        The Opportunity

        The Solution

        The Beginning of MDI

        Innovation cluster dynamics

          In 2013, the Global Capital Group published the  “Manufacturing Diversity Institute White Paper.” The Manufacturing Diversity Institute is modeled after the Institute for Innovation, Creativity, and Capital (IC²) at the University of Texas at Austin. Over 30 years ago, IC² began pioneering what is now called Innovation Clusters.

          Building upon the Innovation Clusters framework, MDI embraces Innovation Cluster Dynamics. New institutional alliances (denoted by segments and linkages), driven by the rapid increase in and diversity of technologies, are altering the strategy and tactics for determining how our government funds discovery and innovation. Looking at patterns, not people, in the way that physicists observe atoms offers a basic, yet revolutionary way to understand the ways in which we all live together. 


          John Sibley Butler


          Trent M. Johnson

          Board Member

          Deloris Sims

          Board Member

          Kate Walker

          Board Member

          Keenan Grenell

          Executive Director

          Diversity is Manufacturing’s Future