Benefits of Choosing Custom Machining in Rochester, MN, for Agricultural Vehicle Parts

Benefits of Choosing Custom Machining in Rochester, MN, for Agricultural Vehicle Parts

At Bowman Tool & Machining, we provide custom machined parts to a range of industries, but a large portion of our work goes to producing parts for agricultural equipment and farm vehicles. One of our specialties is the design, production, and assembly of transmission cases, axles, and pinions for the agriculture equipment industry. Our 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space and wide range of CNC machining centers and additional state-of-the-art equipment provide the facilities we need to manufacture complex custom parts. With weights ranging from 1 to 1,600 pounds in every shape and size, BTM produces quality machine part for agricultural equipment and farm vehicles with advanced custom machining in Rochester, MN.

 Whatever your production project goals may be, BTM will work with you to manufacture even the most complex custom parts, big or small. When you choose to work with BTM, you choose to take advantage of the significant benefits our custom machining shop provides.

 Long-lasting: At BTM, we build our parts to last through the high-stress environments all farm implements are exposed to daily. The strain of hard work that tractors, plows, tillers, planters, harvesters, fertilizer and water spreaders, and all other farm machinery and vehicles experience can cause severe damage to internal custom parts. BTM custom machined parts, including heavy-duty specialized transmission cases, axles, and pinions, are made with quality materials resistant to corrosion or chemical damage and designed to fit perfectly to provide unsurpassed strength and function. 

 No compromise: When you choose to work with BTM for your custom manufacturing project, you get the best with no compromise. No matter what size or shape part you need, our engineering team and machine technicians will work to design, build, and assemble a part that fits your exact specifications. No longer will you need to compromise your product goals to fit existing designs. Additionally, with our facilities and CNC equipment including horizontal and vertical machining centers, lathes, internally integrated automated cells, CMMs, advanced CAD/CAM software, and quality prototyping equipment, you’ll never have to compromise quality for competitive prices.

High-functioning: At BTM, we have over 40 years of experience in designing and manufacturing custom parts for suppliers and companies across Minnesota and the surrounding areas. Because of this, our production of custom agriculture machine parts is reliable for seamless integration into customer systems, long-lasting durability, and high-functionality. The heavy-duty work that most farm vehicles and agriculture equipment accomplish each day demands high-functioning, powerful parts, including transmission cases, axles, and pinions that don’t lose their functional integrity.

To learn more about our capabilities for custom machining in Rochester, MN, and our production of agricultural and other machine parts, contact us at (507) 286-1400 today or request a quote online.


Engineering Support Software Improves CNC Machining

How Engineering Support Software Improves CNC Machining

For many years now, industrial high-quality machining and tooling couldn’t be accomplished without highly-advanced software and computer controls. That software becomes more intelligent each year, and to survive in this quickly changing field, manufacturing companies must learn to adapt and improve. At Bowman Tool & Machining, we’re committed to supporting innovation in machining, tooling, and custom precision manufacturing without compromising our production capabilities or our customer’s schedules. With our wide range of trusted software programs and engineering support, our production floor whirrs with the power of high-quality precision CNC machining in Rochester, MN.

BTM works with a wide range of highly efficient, advanced software programs to operate with our vertical and horizontal machining centers. This supports our engineering and production process to provide on-time service and reliable parts.

CADKEY: Our CADKEY software is considered one of the classic pioneers in computer-aided design software. With BTM’s Version 2:5.01 program, our engineers work to create a three-dimensional geometric visual design of part components and a fully-assembled part meeting the exact specifications of our customers

Mastercam: Mastercam is a forward-thinking software provider with solutions meeting BTM turning, milling, EDM, and CAD expectations for all our custom manufacturing projects. With their green initiative and versatile products, we feel good about our use of Mastercam software as a part of BTM engineering support.

PC-DNC: The Suburban Machinery Software, INC company has 36 years of experience in developing manufacturing software programs and has worked in the field from its beginnings as a viable solution to computer-controlled production. BTM utilizes wireless 5.0 PC-DNC software for communication on the floor, data gathering and analysis, and by-the-minute machine monitoring.

SOLIDWORKS: Engineering support systems would be lacking without the benefit that SOLIDWORKS software provide. From CAD/CAM to automated machining, their programs give our engineers the support they need from the ground up.

 Micro Estimating: The digital prediction and data analysis that Micro Estimating systems offer means our engineers can access exact numbers and simulated geometry for even the most complex parts. Our use of Micro Estimating software improves accuracy and reliability in design, precision machining, and assembly. 

CAMWorks: Custom manufacturing can meet all customer expectations and more with the software modules that CAMWorks provides. Multi-axis CNC milling, EDM, turning, and more is at your beck-and-call when you choose to work with BTM and our CAMWorks software.

Advanced software programs like these have opened the gates for unparalleled custom manufacturing capabilities, and with the BTM engineering support system, you can expect better products and services. To learn more about how our software promotes quality with CNC machining in Rochester, MN, contact BTM at (507) 286-1400 or request a quote to get started on your custom manufacturing project today.


Bowman Tool Quality & Delivery Performance

Bowman Tool Quality & Delivery Performance

1Q 2018


Bowman Tool & Machining had another quarter of strong performance for 1Q 2018. In the areas of quality and delivery, we have exceeded our aggressive targets, and that is what our customers have come to expect. Our delivery performance target is 98% on-time; we have met or exceeded this target for each of the three months. As a matter of fact, for the last two months we were at 100%! Our quality performance target is less than 250 PPM. In the last two months, we were significantly below our target as well and in January we had ZERO defects!

These results are reflective of a very strong and seasoned team. Our machinists average eight years of experience, some have close to 25 years of experience! Our machines are maintained by our onsite maintenance team, who average 17 years of experience. One of our maintenance technicians has over 32 years of experience, all with Bowman Tool. We have a seasoned senior management team also, who average more than 25 years of service in the industry.

Bowman Tool & Machining’s debt is low. We are poised to make investments in the right areas to better serve our customers. Our vision statement is, “To have profitable growth through high customer satisfaction.” We live and act to achieve our vision statement each day.

Go to to check us out further.


Maintaining High-Quality Construction Vehicles With CNC Machining

Maintaining High-Quality Construction Vehicles With CNC Machining

Spring and summer are the best times of the year to execute large-scale commercial construction projects, and many companies take advantage of the weather to improve, renovate, build, and maintain their property. However, even in the off-season for construction, maintenance projects are still necessary. Construction is a year-round concern for companies across the U.S. For the majority of projects, a range of construction vehicles are needed to get the job done. Bowman Tool & Machining manufactures complex parts from .12 kg to 725 kg for construction vehicles with advanced CNC machining in.

BTM has over 50 different CNC machines from 500mm to 1000mm capabilities. This includes horizontal and vertical lathes, specialty lathes, and horizontal and vertical CNC machining centers. With our comprehensive CNC facilities, BTM provides parts for construction vehicles designed to perform in several construction areas. 

Roads: Winter or summer, Minnesota roads need constant attention and maintenance for the safety of drivers. BTM manufactures high-quality parts for construction vehicles that provide pavement milling, planing, compacting, rolling, curing, and asphalt laying. We also produce components and parts for highway and road equipment including dump trucks and other dumping gear, cement mixers, and transfer vehicles. 

Excavation: BTM also manufactures parts for digging and excavation vehicles including specialized excavators, power shovels, and more. Our parts are often critical for safe excavation in new projects and land processing. 

Mining: Mining projects like oil drilling and underground tunneling are in progress across rural Minnesota land areas, and BTM provides the parts needed for safe mining construction work. Vehicles like mining tractors, tunnel boring, and underground machines need high-quality, reliable parts to support worker safety.

Demolition: Sometimes buildings need to be completely leveled for new construction projects. BTM manufactures parts for specialized demolition vehicles, trenchers, compactors, cranes, and hydraulic excavators.

Other: Versatile construction vehicles like backhoes, cranes, forklifts, cherry pickers, loaders, trucks, bulldozers, and tractors are important pieces of equipment utilized in most construction projects. BTM manufactures simple to complex parts suitable for high quality construction vehicles that keep workers and civilians safe during construction and after a project is completed.

BTM offers comprehensive parts manufacturing with our capabilities in assembly and CNC machining. For more information about our experience in providing high quality parts for construction vehicles, or to learn more about our services, contact Bowman Tool & Machining at (507) 286-1400 or request a quote today.

Coordinate Measuring Machines and Their Role in Our Custom Machining

Coordinate Measuring Machines and Their Role in Our Custom Machining

Custom manufacturing for any industry relies on the hard work of each engineer, manager, technician, and administrator. This work in turn relies on continuing function of high quality machinery, advanced software, and well-tuned equipment. Bowman Tool & Machining provides innovative custom machining for a range of industries. Our comprehensive services cover every stage of the manufacturing process from prototype design to fabrication to assembly. Each stage of the custom machining and production process utilizes state-of-the-art equipment built on the strong foundation of the knowledge and skill of our team members. 

One of the most important parts of BTM facilities utilized in our custom machining and comprehensive manufacturing services is our coordinate measuring equipment. Our five coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) offer complete geometric form analysis for parts at each stage of production. From piecemeal-machined components to assembled parts, our CMM capabilities provide our team members with the necessary data to maintain quality control every step of the way.

 CMM Functions 

Our CMMs use highly-rated, regularly-updated software and quality-tested machines for form analysis. By processing a series of coordinate points of a part or component on x, y, and z axes, CMMs are able to provide advanced data on the geometry of even the most complex objects. This process can be repeated and provides information to our engineers almost instantly.

 Three-Dimensional Quality Control

The ability to gather reliable computer-generated geometric information about intricate parts and components has vastly improved our custom manufacturing process. BTM takes advantage of the data that advanced software and CMMs provide. Our CMM capabilities act as a quality control system at a three-dimensional level for parts of all shapes and sizes. CMMs offer non-invasive analysis, gathering form data that allows the rapid elimination of structural flaws and providing a practical approach to design. CMM software also serves to sort and organize large files of generated data, streamlining the quality control process for all custom machining and assembly orders.

For more information about our CMMs and software or other equipment, contact Bowman Tool & Machining at (507) 286-1400. If you’re ready to begin work with BTM and benefit from our quality custom machining, request a quote today.


Comprehensive Engineering Services

From Prototype to Production, We Offer Comprehensive Engineering Services

Bowman Tool & Machining understands that precision-based manufacturing and assembly demands attention at each stage. The quality of our production process ensures the quality of our products. One of the most important parts of our success in precision machining, tooling, and assembly is creating a viable foundation for production. Building this foundation requires a well-formed, highly capable system for prototype design and fabrication. At BTM, you can count on our expert engineering services to support you, from prototype to production.  

 Successful manufacturing begins with prototype design. At BTM, we provide contract manufacturing from the ground up, including engineering services for comprehensive prototyping.

 Our engineering services take an upwards approach to prototyping with the simple three-step manufacturing process of consultation, design, and creation.

 Consultation: A successful project begins with our understanding of our customer’s needs. Communication between our engineers and clients in the consultation process is key in giving us both a point of departure and a path to follow throughout prototyping a product. Once our engineers understand what the part’s capabilities and tolerances need to be, we can move to the design stage of product planning.  

 Design: At BTM, we can design a prototype with the use of high-tech imaging software, performance simulation, and digital quality control. This provides our engineers with the information they need to build a quality product. Not only do our prototype design abilities and technology act as rapid product analysis and correction, the process as a whole is a critical stage that allows for the realization of an idea and opens the door to production. 

Creation: With prototype designs made to the customer’s exact specifications, the time comes to put those blueprints into construction. Our prototyping teams use a range of fabrication methods, depending on the product, to allow our customers to evaluate a physical part before launching mass-production.

 These three steps of BTM prototyping are a clean, simplistic approach to what is ultimately a complex process. With our state-of-the-art prototyping and manufacturing technology, experienced team of engineers, and quality materials, you can expect the best with Bowman Tool & Machining when it comes to creating a new product.

 If you’re ready to begin your prototype project, trust the experts at BTM. Contact us at (507) 286-1400 today to schedule your consultation. 


New CMM Addition


New Addition To Bowman Tool's Quality Lab

Global Advantage CMM


In our mission to create value for our customers and provide world class CNC machining services, Bowman Tool & Machining recently purchased a new GLOBAL Advantage 122210 CMM which offers the best accuracy and highest dynamics of the entire GLOBAL product line. In addition, this new generation of Advantage provides a high scanning throughput: users can scan up to 35% faster than with models of the previous GLOBAL line. GLOBAL Advantage ensures maximum measurement efficiency and versatility allowing BTM to manufacture consistent high quality products. It is the ideal CMM for even the most demanding measurement applications. (Accuracy: MPEE = from 1.4 + L/333 μm)

GLOBAL Advantage features outstanding accuracy, dynamics and, throughput. The productivity of this CMM has been improved substantially - through optimized motion algorithms, enhanced software and a new electronic controller. This CMM is the perfect tool for the dimensional inspection of mechanical components with tight tolerances, parts with complex geometries and, free-form surfaces such as blades, gears, screw compressors shafts. This will enable the BTM team to continue creating exceptional quality for our core competency of CNC machining.




Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. Company Video

Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. 

Company Video

Improving Production Quality and Market Efficiency With Robotic Automation

Improving Production Quality and Market Efficiency With Robotic Automation


At Bowman Tool & Machining, we continually strive to improve waste reduction, efficiency, quality, and precision in our manufacturing processes. While our experienced engineers, machine technicians, and other team members play a vital role in providing our customers with high quality prototyping, precision machining, and assembly, the equipment we use in manufacturing has always been a crucial component. Today, robotic automation has become an integral part of our production process allowing us to achieve unprecedented accuracy and efficiency. 

Our automated machining cells, including our Haas vertical machining center and horizontal lathe, as well as our Fanuc robots, allow highly efficient, precise production for small parts in large volume orders. This keeps the cost low for our clients without sacrificing quality. 

While BTM currently specializes in large scale, rapid production of precision-based small parts with our robotic automated machining cells, we’re working to expand our production options in this area.

 Expanding our production reach with robotic automation is an important goal of BTM. The capabilities of robotic automated machining cells in manufacturing quality parts with speed and efficiency serves as a rich supplement to our primary precision machining and assembly services.

 Our current production abilities with robotic automation support not only our goals, but our customers’ goals for production and market reach. With robotic automation added to our fundamental production, BTM offers customers the benefits of: 

  1. Rapid manufacturing for large volume orders of small parts without sacrificing quality and precision in the product.
  2. Cost-effective precision machining and reliable assembly.
  3. Stress-free ordering and service throughout the production process.
  4. Fast production-to-market operations with a company you can trust.

 At BTM, we value our robotic automation capabilities for the control, flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency it gives to the production process. 

To learn more about our precision machining, assembly, and robotic automation capabilities, or to request a quote, contact Bowman Tool & Machining at (507) 286-1400 today.


Holiday Greeting 2017








Lynn's Retirement

Congratulations Lynn Mustain

40 Years as a CNC Machinist, 20 Years at BTM


Lynn Mustain was a very valued employee at Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. As sad as

we are to see him go, we are very happy to wish him congratulations on his retirement. 

Thank you for all your hard work over the years Lynn, we greatly appreciate it. 


CNC Machining Centers for Custom Precision Machining

Utilizing CNC Machining Centers for Custom Precision Machining

The mathematic accuracy and high efficiency needed for manufacturing quality parts is successfully guided in part by computer numerical control (CNC) machines. CNC machines play a critical role in creating precision machined parts for any project, big or small. If you’re in need of high tolerance production for complex parts, Bowman Tool & Machining can meet your project demands with our comprehensive precision machining.

 At BTM, we utilize CNC programs with a range of equipment, including our vertical and horizontal machining centers, lathes, and mills ranging from 400mm to 1000mm. With a total of 54 different CNC machine tools, BTM has the capabilities to manufacture a wide variety of parts for your project.

 A significant component of our CNC machining capabilities are our vertical and horizontal machining centers and our vertical and horizontal lathes, which allow machining at virtually all angles around the axis of a part.


The vertical machining equipment at BTM that utilizes CNC programs for ultra-precise production include our five vertical machining centers and our three vertical lathes.

Our CNC vertical machining centers offer the usage of 20 tools for a range of cuts and a maximum travel range of  40” on the x-axis, 20” on the y-axis, and 25” on the z-axis.

Our CNC vertical lathes offer the usage of 12 tools for a range of turning applications, a maximum swing of 28”, and a maximum length of 29”.

With mathematically-precise, computer-controlled tooling action, our vertical CNC machining equipment offers comprehensive cutting, slotting, hole-making, and detailing on a wide range of parts.


BTM offers over 40 horizontally-oriented machining options with up to 160 tools within a single twin pallet center.

Our CNC horizontal machining centers are capable of work up to 2000mm (80”) in size and offer a maximum travel to 66.93” along the x-axis, maximum travel to 55.12” along the y-axis, and maximum travel to 60.04” along the z-axis.

Our CNC horizontal lathes offer up to 12 tools per turret with a maximum swing of 28” and a maximum length of 36”. Both 2-axis and 4-axis horizontal lathes are available, as well as two multi-spindle machining centers with live tooling.

Every axis of a part is machinable with our range of computer-controlled equipment. Vertical and horizontal CNC machining centers and lathes get the job done with our experienced engineers and technicians managing equipment and projects.

Contact BTM today at (507) 286-1400 to learn more about our precision machining capabilities, or to request a quote.

Bowman Tool: Full Service Tier-1 Supplier

Bowman Tool, Inc. of Rochester, MN, is a Tier-1 Supplier Partnering with Customers From the Design Stage All the Way Through Service 

With over 40 years of experience specializing in precision machining, Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. has established a world class quality management system in support of our Tier 1 services. We have partnered with some of the world's most successful companies to help solve their complex machining and contract manufacturing challenges. By applying rigorous engineering standards along every phase of the process from specifications and prototyping to production and quality control all the way through service, we deliver performance excellence that consistently exceeds customer expectations. We pride ourselves on precision and achieve this by utilizing computer numerical control (CNC) machines. CNC machining isn’t just precise, but it’s also efficient, allowing us to produce high-precision parts on a large scale. Paired with our state-of-the-art facilities, our experience and capabilities offer comprehensive excellence in parts production for our customers from concept through service. With our full tier-1 support system, we can support and supplement customers throughout each stage of the process.

 From start to finish, our full tier-1 support offers an optimal experience for all our customers. Our emphasis on tier-1 client support at all stages of production assures operational efficiency and ideal quality in the finished product.

 Design: During the initial steps of product design and prototyping, our engineers and quality team create strong teamwork with our customer. We take time to understand customer specifications, a part’s function, our production capabilities, and quality expectations. Prototypes are fabricated based on these inputs. Our coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) provide us statistical analysis on prototype features which we feedback to our customers’ design team.

 Precision Machining: With our team of dedicated and highly skilled machinists and engineers, BTM of Rochester, MN, has earned a reputation for precision machining that is second to none. Our engineering-driven process is designed to maximize efficiencies that improve our customers' return on investment.

BTM has invested in state-of-the-art technologies to achieve precision machining in Rochester, MN, including robotic automation and climate-controlled facilities to maintain precise tolerances of even the most complex jobs.

 Assembly: BTM of Rochester, MN, has the square footage, the equipment, and the expertise to meet all your assembly needs—everything from simple sub-assembly to complete turnkey deliverables. We can achieve precision without sacrificing efficiency by utilizing robotic automation. This allows our engineers to program exact specifications into our CNC machines and operate several at once. Thanks to robotic automation, you can count on us to provide tighter quality control, lower costs, and shorter lead times. We are always staying at the forefront of technological advances to provide our customers with better products and a better experience; robotic automation is just the latest in a long line of innovative solutions. 

 Service: The final step in the life cycle of a part is service. As a Tier 1 supplier BTM of Rochester, MN, excels in supporting all customer service needs. 

Our goal at BTM is to provide Tier 1 high-quality precision machining in Rochester, MN, for the entire life cycle of a part. We strive to create the optimal client experience through our full tier-1 support systems every step of the way. For more information about our machining services and capabilities, contact Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. at (507) 286-1400 today.


Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. Today

Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. 

Family Owned Business Since 1977


Bowman Tool & Machining, Inc. has been a family-owned business for 40+ years and is constantly improving & growing. Here at BTM, we pride ourselves on our 100% commitment to providing high quality products and services at a competitive price. BTM partners with companies working from the design stages to pre-production, all the way through end of life. 

Bowman Tool has improved our backup systems and processes to ensure 100% on-time delivery! Our staff understands that downtime is unacceptable and we pride ourselves on our 100% on-time delivery standards. 

Bowman Tool Today

Delivering Superier Products To Customers


Bowman Tool has the capability to continue to grow with our state of the art, 150,000 square foot machining facility. We currently have 44 CNC machining centers ranging from 400 mm to 1000 mm! We also have 12 turning centers, some with 5-axis and live tooling. Our highly efficient robotic machining cells, give us the capability to produce smaller parts as well. No part is too big or too small for BTM to handle.

The Bowman team is as strong as ever! We believe it is very important to have the right group of people in place to achieve the highest of quality standards, integrity, and to continuously improve. BTM has experts in engineering, quality, production operators, production floor leads, shipping, & management, with over 250 years of machining experience. 

Robot Squad Wins Again

Sponsored Team Brings Home the Gold


We are very proud of our sponsored Robot Squad FTC Team 7152 and all of their hard work this season. They got 1st place in robot runs and ended up being the captain on the winning alliance at the North Branch Tournament last month. They were nominated for five awards, more than any other team there, and won the 1st place Inspire Award which is the highest award possible. Hard work and lots of fun learning really does pay off. Here's some footage of the BTM robot in action.

Anniversary Celebration

Congratulations Dale Morey on 30 years with BTM!!




Throwback to 2009

37th Street Building Remodel


This former K-Mart building was turned into a manufacturing powerhouse in 2009 when BTM demoed and remodeled the rundown property. At the time of purchase, the building was being rented by Goodwill and IBM, but had been seriously neglected. BTM was proud to revamp what the community called an "eye sore" and make it into a job-creating, economy-boosting business.

In 2009 Bowman Tool & Machining invested over $1 Million to demo in the interior of the building, add a beautiful entrance and office space, as well as enough power for the company to operate the heavy manufacturing machinery that would run around the clock. The result is an enormous amount of pride for the new location and what you see below...




US Manufacturing Renaissance a Myth?

New Reports Suggest Tall Tale


Have we been letting a good story get in the way of the facts?

The “manufacturing renaissance” has been the central point in the return of America’s industrial power. It even has its own national council.

Yet here are the facts: the United States may have added only about one new manufacturing job in the last few years for every five that were lost during the financial crisis and the recession that followed...

...“A lot of people are desperate for positive economic news, so articles suggesting that there’s a revival of manufacturing get a lot of traction.”

Read more:

Happy Holidays from the BTM Team


Happy Holidays from the Bowman Family! 2014 has been a wonderful year at BTM and we are excited to see what 2015 has in store for us. Many thanks to our loyal employees and their families as well as our Suppliers and Customers for keeping us going everyday. Without all of these important people we would not be where we are today.


State Grants Hopeful to Introduce More Women to Skilled Trades

State grants aim to get more women in hard hats

Star Tribune January 11, 2015


$475,000 will go toward training in fields traditionally male-dominated

"...Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis received $72,450 to help women earn associate’s degrees in construction, computers and manufacturing. In Rochester, the Workforce Development Center will spend $71,000 certifying women in welding and computer controlled machining (CNC).

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the grants target low-wage women or those over age 50 who want in on some of Minnesota’s highest-growth industries. The new program should slim the gender wage gap, where women earn just 80 cents for every $1 a man earns.

“Today, about 40 percent of the gender pay gap is attributed to women doing different work from men and the lower value placed on female-dominated work,” Clark Sieben said. “[Many of the] greatest growth and highest paying fields are typically dominated by men. … Women are not well represented in these occupations.”

To change that, armies of educators and students are getting to work. The pounding was deafening Tuesday at Goodwill’s construction training facility in St. Paul, where two licensed contractors guided the chaos on the second day of class.

Porter, St. Paul resident McKenzie Reynolds and 10 other construction newbies banged hammers and cranked crowbars to disassemble the roofs, siding and walls from two “demonstration” houses. The students will rebuild those same houses this week.

“At this point, it’s just important to get them comfortable using hand and power tools,” said coach Anna Wright. “They are here in the [construction lab] for six weeks and then go onto the actual building site, where they build real houses.”

In between, trainees will meet with employment counselors, visit bricklayers and other firms looking for long-term apprentices. They also will select a specialty trade to study further.

Crystal resident LeeAnne Stevens, 32, and a single mother of four, can’t wait. She will spend the next six weeks learning to pour concrete and tie rebar, thanks to the state grant. The training opportunity came at the right time, said Stevens, a former Electrolux refrigerator assembler who was forced to leave her job and go on welfare when her child care fell through. But now she has steady help from her mother and is ready to learn new skills.

“I wanted something that would pay me enough that I would not have to depend on anyone else. So I came here and said, ‘Let’s do this,’ ” Stevens said.

Such training is needed, said Sarah Richards, CEO of Jones Metal Products Inc., the Mankato factory that machines parts for nuclear submarines, nuclear power plants and electric generators.

Richards is delighted the state is helping Rochester and Dunwoody women learn machining, robotics, welding and other skills badly needed by factories like hers. “There is a tremendous gender gap,” she said.

“We are 100 percent men in our front-line manufacturing operations,” Richards said. “A lot of women gravitate to the quality positions but they are just not CNC [computerized robot] operators, or welders or machinists. They are not the ones with the welding torch in their hand,” even though welding and machining jobs often pay $18 to $30 an hour.

“There are still societal stereotypes that keep girls from pursuing some fields that naturally pique their interest.”

Richards hopes to change that. This month, she’s hiring her first female machinist intern from South Central College.

“I am so excited she is here. I want her to work here full time,” Richards said. “There is a lot of good going on around this new [statewide] effort. If we could just get a good core group of women started here, then I think that things start to take off.”

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