Traci Tapani, Co-President of Wyoming Machine, was invited to participate in a White House gathering of 150 US business leaders including corporate, medium and small-business CEOs at the White House on Friday, April 24. Traci was the only business leader selected from Minnesota.
Leaders gathered to share ideas about and experiences with training “frontline” employees (those without trained skills) to move up in the company to more skilled jobs and higher wages. Doing so gives frontline employees a chance to advance to a good-paying job within a company. It also helps alleviate the skilled worker shortage occurring in industries across the board from healthcare to manufacturing.
According to Traci, “It was an incredible honor to serve on this ‘team.’ I shared with participants that UpSkilling has been a mainstay of advancing our employees and promoting from within for many years. We have focused on identifying the potential of each of our unskilled workers and offered them individualized training.” Wyoming Machine also has a partnership with Pine Technical College to assist with formal training where needed.
Traci said that others in attendance found that assigning mentors to frontline workers helped advance the mentors even more than the mentees. (Mentors were six times more likely to be promoted than non-mentors, and mentees were five times more likely to be promoted.)
“UpSkilling workers makes good business sense. Every industry is experiencing the skills shortage in one way or another and having businesses take action to train unskilled workers is one way to solve the problem. At Wyoming Machine it seems that everyone rallies around our lower skilled workers and tries to help them acquire new skills,” added Traci.
In addition to a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, members also were addressed by US Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Valerie Jarret, a Sr. Advisor to President Obama.
Immediately following the summit, Traci was interviewed for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”
According to Wyoming Machine Co-President Lori Tapani, “We’re very honored that our company was represented at this summit. Providing individualized training for our frontline workers has been a cornerstone of Wyoming Machine for decades. It’s one reason why we have such a loyal workforce which includes many employees who have been with us for 25-35 years. Such training has worked well for us and we believe it’s a good move for employers throughout America to adopt this practice.”