LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 11, 2018) – Local manufacturers have something to celebrate. The second graduating class of the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT) at Jefferson Community & Technical College has more than doubled the number of graduates over the inaugural class, which was 10. The outlook is just as good for the 22 2018 graduates, most of whom have full-time jobs waiting for them and are graduating with little to no student loan debt.

The two-year AMT apprentice-style program is sponsored by the Greater Louisville Chapter of the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME), a group of area manufacturing companies taking action to fill the pipeline of mid-skill manufacturing workers, which is critical to the region’s large manufacturing industry.

Sponsor employers include: Berry Global, Clariant, Dana Corporation, DD Williamson & Co., Inc., DOW Chemical, Faurecia, Ford Motor Company, GE Appliances, a Haier company, Greenlee Company, Kentucky Trailer, KCC, Lantech, LG&E, Linak US Inc., Paradise Tomato Kitchen, Republic Conduit, Sabert Corporation, Test & Controls International and Winston Industries.

“The KY FAME program has spread like wildfire due to its ability to offer on-the-job training, classroom skills, professionalism and all the competencies employers are demanding in mid-skill maintenance-style roles,” said Robbie Heinrich, Greater Louisville KY FAME chapter president and engineering manager from Dana Corporation, a sponsor company. “The success of this program is driven from engaged employers, great instructors, ambitious students and support throughout the commonwealth of Kentucky. We are creating careers for young people and helping local business succeed at the same time.”

Manufacturers are having difficulty finding enough skilled workers to fill their open jobs, with the problem anticipated to become even worse. A 2015 study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute estimates that two million of the 3.4 million manufacturing jobs expected to become available in the next decade will go unfilled due to a gap between the skills manufacturers require and those of the current available workforce.

Greater Louisville KY FAME launched the AMT program with education partner Jefferson in 2015 as one of its first actions after forming in 2014 due to the member companies’ common interest in having industry-led responses and solutions to the workforce crisis by exposing high school students to careers in the vibrant manufacturing field. That work has since been expanded to include education at the middle school level.

“KY FAME is a tremendous example of what a business and education partnership should be,” said Jefferson President Dr. Ty Handy. “One student at a time we are closing the work skills gap so that Louisville can be a more prosperous Possibility City.”

Students who participate in the AMT program work toward an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at Jefferson. They attend class and participate in lab work for two days a week and work for a sponsor company at a competitive wage the other three days.

Demand from area companies for skilled workers is growing and students are taking notice but more education is needed. Current enrollment is 40 students and an incoming class of 35+ has been recruited from area high schools.

© 2016 Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education