Innovations & Awards

Recognizing Excellence in Our Industry

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Trailblazer Award

For the second year, NAWB is awarding the WIOA Trailblazer Award, recognizing a workforce development board that has been a leader in adopting the system changes envisioned in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions for its community. WIOA provides the workforce system with the opportunity to make changes that will significantly improve its ability to meet the needs of residents and employers through partnerships with government agencies, business and industry, economic development, training and education, and community-based organizations.

The 2017 WIOA Trailblazer Award Winner is Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas. Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County has engaged partners and stakeholders to create a coordinated strategy that integrates training, education and support services. Among other examples, their Regional Workforce Leadership Council supports five of the region’s industry clusters and demonstrates their commitment to business and industry while building opportunities for youth, re-entry populations, and workers in need of skills upgrades. Among the many milestones achieved during WIOA implementation, Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County developed extensive career exploration options for youth and adults, implemented structured strategic planning processes for their board, and redefined their relationship with large corporations in the region, resulting in $400 million in capital investments, and 4,500 new jobs representing $300 million in wages.

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W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award

The W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award honors businesses or business organizations that commit time, money, and leadership to make their community’s workforce and economy more vibrant and go above and beyond to be a full partner in their local Workforce Development Board’s endeavors. This year, NAWB selected two winners: one small business and one large business.

Wyoming Machine, Inc., in Stacy, MN, is the 2017 winner of the W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award for a small business. Wyoming Machine, Inc.,makes metal components for the defense, computer and electrical equipment, and aerospace industries. As a woman-owned business, the company has partnered with community organizations to raise awareness of opportunities in manufacturing for youth and women, and has worked to bring global insight into the challenges of women in non-traditional jobs. Their generous gifts of time and effort have provided strong leadership to build manufacturing skills in Minnesota.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas, is the 2017 winner of the W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award for a large business. As the largest aerospace company in the region, Lockheed Martin led the development of the Regional Aerospace Consortium with goals of strengthening the current workforce, growing the future workforce through educational participation, and supporting a career pathways project for Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County. Lockheed Martin co-produced the consortium’s Gotta Jet? aerospace career awareness campaign, invested one million dollars in Project Lead the Way and STEM programs, and contributed $15,000 to develop FLYBY DFW, a gaming app to encourage young adults to explore aerospace career paths.

NAWB congratulates these winners and looks forward to honoring them during The Forum 2017.

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“The Forum is a tremendous value for businesses and business organizations as it provides information, ideas, and resources that enhance employers' ability to attract, retain, and train a competitive workforce.”

~ Laurie Moran, President & CEO, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, VA