Graduating With Not Only a Job, but a Career

The first graduating class of the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT) at Jefferson Community & Technical College has a record that traditional college-track programs can’t beat: 100 percent of the students have full-time jobs waiting for them and they’re graduating with little-to-no student loan debt.

The 10 2017 graduates are the inaugural class of the AMT program 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.

The two-year AMT apprentice-style program will have graduates employed at sponsor employers: GE Appliances, Clariant Corporation, Paradise Tomato Kitchen, Inc., Precision Metal Works, and Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc.

“The AMT program is essential to growing a skilled manufacturing workforce that will not only help support the urgent needs of our current manufacturing base but will help attract new manufacturers to our local communities,” said Kent Suiters, Greater Louisville KY FAME president and GE Appliances Learning and Initiatives leader. “The AMT program will help open the door to employers who can offer these graduates great career opportunities in the fast-paced, high-tech, collaborative manufacturing field.”

Graduates of the program are expected to have a thorough knowledge of the latest practices in industrial manufacturing and metalwork. For example, being aware of the process used by Superior Shot Peening to strengthen steel and relieving stress in steel components in the automotive sector is something many of the graduates might be knowledgable of.

That is not all though. Knowing the difference between horizontal and vertical milling machines as well as a complete understanding of other industrial machine tools is also vital. In the metal cutting industry, for example, new lathes are being developed on a regular basis and therefore a fundamental understanding of how to operate this type of machinery is crucial.

Accordingly, you can learn more about some of the most popular lathes in the metalwork industry here: Further education is therefore not only encouraged, but a requirement in the highly competitive metalwork industry.

This is particularly true for graduates hoping to embark on lucrative careers in trades such as welding. For an insight into welding machinery and to learn more about some of the latest welding equipment out there, go to

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 JCTC 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.

“We are eager to literally build upon the success of the Greater Louisville KY FAME effort,” said JCTC President Dr. Ty Handy. “The community is looking to JCTC to produce an exponentially larger pool of work-ready graduates to drive economic growth. Thanks to the $15.2 million pledge from Governor Bevin’s Kentucky Work Ready Skills Initiative and commitments from community partners, we will soon break ground on the city’s first Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology center, an incubator for the skilled work of tomorrow.”

Students who participate in the AMT program work toward an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Advanced Manufacturing Technology at Jefferson Community & Technical College. 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 37 students and an incoming class of 24 has been recruited from area high schools. Member companies include:

  • Atlas Machine & Supply, Inc
  • Berry Global
  • Bigelow Tea Company
  • Clariant Corporation
  • Dana Corporation
  • DD Williamson & Co., Inc.
  • Faurecia
  • Ford Motor Company
  • GE Appliances, a Haier company
  • Greenlee Company
  • Kentucky Trailer
  • Lantech
  • Linak US Inc.
  • Millenium Tool
  • Paradise Tomato Kitchen
  • Precision Metal Works
  • Republic Conduit
  • Sabert Corporation
  • Test & Controls International
  • Universal Woods

Greater Louisville’s first graduating class of 10 students with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

© 2016 Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education