Kentucky’s nationally recognized workforce training program continues to grow in Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) is creating a new chapter in the Cumberlands region, which includes 13 counties in southeastern Kentucky.
KY FAME is a partnership of manufacturers that have teamed up to address the shortage of technically skilled workers needed in advanced manufacturing. The program offers innovative, apprentice-style education and training designed to create one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world.
“Since we launched the first chapter of KY FAME, it has been clear that developing a highly skilled and in-demand workforce is the foremost concern for companies,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “I applaud the Cumberlands region for coming together to proactively address this topic through forming our newest KY FAME chapter. It is a testament to the innovative and forward-thinking spirit of Kentucky.”
KY FAME student participants will enroll in the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. Through AMT, students attend classes two days per week at Somerset Community College (SCC) and work an additional 24 hours per week for a sponsoring employer. Upon completion of the program, students receive an associate degree in applied sciences and, with the practical skills gained during their paid work experience, most begin full-time employment with the sponsor. Others may decide to further their technical education to obtain bachelor’s degrees in engineering or business.
Cumberlands now becomes the sixth chapter of KY FAME. Other chapters include the Bluegrass Region (central Kentucky), Greater Louisville, Greater Owensboro, northern Kentucky and Elizabethtown/Lincoln Trail regions. The goal is to eventually expand the program to all corners of the Commonwealth.
Six local companies from the region are leading the launch for the Cumberlands chapter:
- Toyotetsu America Inc. (Somerset)
- Superior Battery Manufacturing Company Inc. (Russell Springs)
- Aisin Automotive Casting LLC (London)
- UGN Inc. (Somerset)
- Highlands Diversified Services Inc. (London)
- Belden Inc. (Monticello)
“It’s very exciting to see KY FAME grow into the Cumberlands area,” said Kim Menke, manager of government affairs for Toyota and president of the KY FAME board of directors. “KY FAME programs produce high-quality employees for Kentucky companies. I’m thrilled that additional chapters will have the opportunity to support local companies and grow our manufacturing workforce across the Commonwealth.”
The leadership of the Cumberlands chapter includes:
- President – Donnie Slagle, Toyotetsu America Inc.
- Vice president – Chris Hicks, UGN Inc.
- Secretary – Vicky Glen, Superior Battery
- Treasurer – Kim Chasteen, Belden Inc.
“The establishment of the KY FAME Cumberlands chapter will ensure the 13 counties in our workforce region have sustainable availability of the highly skilled maintenance technicians our employers so desperately need,” said Slagle, vice president of corporate strategy at Toyotetsu America Inc. and president of the Cumberlands chapter of KY FAME. “In two short years, we will begin to see the pipeline of highly trained technicians flowing into our region. We are very excited about the KY FAME program and the insight of our state leadership to implement such a program to move Kentucky forward.”
“Somerset Community College is pleased to be the educational partner for the Cumberlands chapter of the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education,” said Somerset Community College President Jo Marshall. “We know that by providing a quality education at SCC, coupled with on-the-job training, we are giving program participants the very best start in their manufacturing careers. When students finish the KY FAME program, they will be skilled, educated and prepared members of the workforce. We are excited to see where this partnership takes our community in the future.”
Created in 2010, KY FAME now includes approximately 80 companies statewide. More than 40 students have completed the AMT program, 60 students are currently enrolled and more than 200 students will begin classes in fall 2015.