KY FAME Expands Across the State after Success of BCTC's AMT program

KY FAMEStudents from Bluegrass Community and Technical College's Advanced Manufacturing Technician program lined the back wall of the press conference as Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) would be expanding across the state January 14, 2015. (Press Release: KY FAME to expand its apprentice-style training program statewide)

The KY FAME program began in Georgetown with a partnership between Toyota and Bluegrass Community and Technical College. The success of the program has led to a membership growth of more than 16 manufacturers, both large and small, participating in the program.

The work and learn program allows manufacturers to sponsor students, who then work 24 hours per week at the sponsoring employers and attend classes full-time two days a week. Upon completion of the five-semester program, students receive an Associate in Applied Sciences degree. They can then have the potential to begin full-time employment with their sponsor or continue their education by pursuing an engineering degree. The average starting salary for these entry level positions as a manufacturing technician ranges from $40,000 to $60,000.

More than 40 students have completed the AMT program, and more than 60 are currently enrolled.

BCTC's Advanced Manufacturing Center is proud to be the first school to have collaborated with the manufacturers of KY FAME, and to work with them these past four years to develop a model program that meets their needs for advanced multi-skilled technicians, said Carol Crawford, BCTC's Advanced Manufacturing Center Coordinator.

"It's very exciting to see KY FAME grow in Kentucky," said Kim Menke, manager of government affairs for Toyota. Toyota helped launch KY FAME four years ago, and the program has produced tremendous results. "I'm thrilled that more parts of the state will have the opportunity to support local companies and grow our manufacturing workforce across the Commonwealth."

The AMT program is also expanding at BCTC and will start this fall at the college's Danville Campus. (Press Release: BCTC Danville Campus to Add Advanced Manufacturing Technician Degree)

"Workforce development is one of the top issues facing Kentucky manufacturers," said Greg Higdon, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM). The KY FAME model presents an opportunity with unlimited potential for manufacturers to control their workforce needs. KAM is proud to be a part of the development and expansion of KY FAME.

"This program gives us the experience to go anywhere and work wherever we want to," said Dalton Ballard, an AMT student working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown. "I'll have the choice of getting a high-paying job or continuing my education. That is what's so great about KY FAME."