The Tapani sisters,  owners of Wyoming Machine in Stacy, Minn., won the National Association of Workforce Boards' business leadership award in Washington D.C. Monday for their leadership developing the workforce and economy of Washington County and other communities of Minnesota.

Wyoming Machine co-owners and co-presidents Traci Tapani and Lori Tapani were cited for their "ardent commitment" to training and developing workforce skills in manufacturing.  In nominating the sisters, Washington County Workforce Center Division Manager Robert Crawford noted the many programs the  sisters created to teach untrained, young adults and women metal working, assembly, shipping and receiving and other manufacturing skills now in short supply in factories across the state.

"From building partnerships with local colleges and technical schools, to securing Department of Labor education grants [that] fund customized training on specialized equipment, to serving on foundation boards and hosting career day events, Lori and Traci Tapani have given generously of their time and provided strong regional leadership to build manufacturing skills in Minnesota.“

Traci Tapani said, “We have grown many high school graduates and under and unemployed individuals into exceptional employees who are successfully trained to operate highly technical equipment or fill leadership roles in the company. Envisioning the middle-skill job shortage, many years ago we began reaching out to youth and girls, in particular, to enlighten them about today’s manufacturing environment and the good-paying jobs awaiting them.”

Years later, they are still at it, extending manufacturing jobs and training to students, former restaurant workers, and sales clerks.

Each year, the Association of Workforce Boards honors one large and one small business for its national award. For 2017, Wyoming Machine won the small business award. Lockheed Martin won the large business category award for its work training workers for high technology jobs.

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