The co-owner of the Wyoming Machine sheet metal company in Stacy, Minnesota that makes armored Humvees, steel spokes and other manufactured parts, Tapani posted an ad to fill a production job at their plant. Two months later she didn’t get a single applicant. Hiring skilled welders and laser operators was already tough. And in the manufacturing space winning the heated competition for good workers could mean the difference between profitability and closing the door. The American Welding Society anticipates a shortage of about 400,000 operators by 2024. But Tapani and Wyoming didn’t take the bad news laying down.