The Commonwealth’s nationally recognized workforce training program is expanding westward. Governor Steve Beshear today announced that the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) has created a new chapter in the western Kentucky region.
KY FAME is a partnership of manufacturers and higher-learning institutions that have teamed up to address a shortage of technically skilled workers 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 first announced plans to take KY FAME statewide back in January, interest in the program has grown so dramatically that this makes eight chapters in less than a year,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate the west Kentucky region for taking the necessary steps to form this newest chapter. KY FAME will help create one of the world’s most highly skilled and in-demand workforces right here in western Kentucky.”
KY FAME student participants will enroll in the specialized Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. Through AMT, students attend classes two days per week at a Kentucky Community and Technical College location 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. With the practical skills gained during their paid work experience, most begin employment with a sponsor company. Others may decide to further their technical education to obtain bachelor’s degrees in engineering or business.
Within the KY FAME West Chapter, AMT courses will be provided at Madisonville Community College, Hopkinsville Community College and West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah.
Other KY FAME chapters include the Bluegrass Region (central Kentucky), Greater Louisville, northern Kentucky, Elizabethtown/Lincoln Trail, Greater Owensboro, Cumberlands and Southcentral regions. The goal is to eventually expand the program to all corners of the Commonwealth.
More than a dozen local companies from the region are leading the launch for the West Kentucky chapter:
- Wacker Chemical
- T.RAD North America
- Briggs & Stratton
- Centrifugal Technologies
- Baptist Health Madisonville
- Vanderbilt Chemical
- Progress Rail Services
- Hibbs Electromechanical
- Air Relief
- Integrated Metal Solutions
- MVP Group International
- International Automotive Components
- ACE Compressor Services
- GE Aviation
“It’s exciting to see KY FAME grow into the west Kentucky 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 west Kentucky chapter includes:
- President: Ryan Senter, Hibbs Electromechanical
- Vice President: Phil Dunn, T.RAD North America
- Secretary-Treasurer: James Bundren, Madisonville-Hopkins County Economic Development Corp.
“I have seen the energizing effects that the mere opportunity of forming a chapter of KY FAME in west Kentucky has brought, and it makes me very optimistic for the future of our region and the Commonwealth as a whole” said Ryan Senter, president of Hibbs Electromechanical and president of the new chapter. “With industry in the driver’s seat, the KY FAME program has enhanced the collaboration between industry, education and government in combining technical education, soft-skills training and career preparedness that will have wide-ranging, positive benefits for students, Kentucky companies and entire communities. The KY FAME framework not only gives us the opportunity to develop the best and brightest but also gives those individuals and their families a reason to stay and prosper in our region.”
“Developing a skilled workforce is certainly the key to the success of our local communities in western Kentucky,” said Phil Dunn, T.RAD North America human resources general manager and vice president of the West Kentucky chapter. “Establishing a FAME chapter in western Kentucky will provide the opportunity for individuals to gain education, work experience and job related skills to enable our region to meet our current and future workforce challenges.”
“We are excited to be part of the West KY Chapter and look forward to promoting educational and technical skills training and job opportunities for the manufacturing workforce of the future,” said Rodney Bohannon, plant manager at Briggs & Stratton in Murray.
With this year’s additions, the KY FAME program now includes 112 companies statewide. More than 200 students are currently enrolled.
KY FAME is part of the Kentucky Skills Network, which was created by Gov. Beshear in 2014. Last year, the network provided training assistance to 84,000 Kentuckians and 4,100 companies.