Two innovative Kentucky workforce-development programs that are improving skill levels of current and future employees across the Bluegrass State received callouts in a recent guide, “Work-and-Learn In Action,” a publication by the National Network of Business and Industry Associations.

The guide highlighted the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) and FirstBuild among programs across the country that employers, schools, colleges and communities could use as templates in designing and implementing their own workforce development programs.

KY FAME pairs high-school graduates with manufacturing employers for paid apprenticeship-style positions. Students work three days per week at their sponsoring employer and attend classes two days a week at a local campus of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

At the end of their program, students earn an associate degree and a certification as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician. While many go on to full-time jobs with their sponsoring employer, they also are well-position to continue classes toward an engineering degree.

Louisville-based FirstBuild, a program by General Electric and Local Motors, engages a community of industrial designers, scientists, engineers, makers and early adopters to address engineering challenges and to support innovations to for a new model for the appliance industry. FirstBuild manufactures community-designed products at its microfactory, a space designed for rapid product introduction and iteration. This partnership is pioneering the future of work with a new model for inventing, building and bringing the next generation of major appliances to the market.

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© 2016 Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education