July 10, 2017

KY FAME Prepares for Record Enrollment in Fall

Kyndle FAME in Henderson is the latest chapter to join statewide apprenticeship program


Kentucky manufacturers have taken steps to improve the quality of the state’s available workforce, and those efforts are beginning to pay major dividends for companies.

A major part of that initiative is the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME), which has helped 232 students earn associate’s degrees thus far while earning valuable on-the-job training. Perhaps the greatest indication of the program’s growth is the expected enrollment of more than 650 students to the program this fall.

KY FAME was established in 2008 and has gained substantial momentum in recent years. The business-led program is based on a model developed by the national FAME organization and inspired by a similar workforce program at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. (TMMK) in Georgetown. It pairs potential employees with manufacturers to develop on-the-job training while the participant works toward an associate’s degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT). AMT addresses the largest current skill need in manufacturing, multi-skilled maintenance.

In 2015, KY FAME became a statewide partnership with more than 200 member companies, and efforts are underway to expand beyond the AMT program.

“For four or five years, there were 10 to 15 companies, and then other communities and companies began hearing about it,” said Josh Benton, executive director of workforce development for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “It’s grown organically, from one chapter to six, and we’re now at 10. We’ve gone from growth mode to operational mode and sustainment. We’re now looking at other needs.”

It is not just about the number of participants in the program, however, as high graduation rates highlight the quality of the education opportunities. Of the 121 students who enrolled in KY FAME in August 2015, 89 percent graduated from the program this past May. By comparison, the on-time graduation rate for two-year colleges runs at 5 percent nationally and nearly 13 percent in Kentucky, while four-year degree programs graduate 49.4 percent of students in the state.

The statewide program has shown no sign of slowing down in recent months, as the Owensboro chapter has developed a computerized manufacturing and machining program and the Bluegrass chapter is running two pilot programs through which AMT graduates can earn manufacturing-focused bachelor’s degrees in business and engineering. Some associated with KY FAME even expect the program to migrate to sectors such as healthcare, banking and IT.

Kyndle FAME

The most recent addition to the KY FAME family is Kyndle FAME based in Henderson. Spearheaded by Kyndle (the Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership and Engagement), courses for the newest chapter of KY FAME will be held in conjunction with Henderson Community College. Local companies that will support the chapter include Audubon Metals, Big Rivers, Gibbs Die Casting, Hydro Aluminum, International Paper, Teknor and Vibracoustic.

Students looking to participate in the program have completed the application process and interviews are currently being conducted. Classes for the Kyndle FAME program are set to begin in August.

To learn more about KY FAME, visit www.kyfame.com.

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