Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NWLA FAME Celebrates First Graduating Class

by BIZ Magazine

BOSSIER CITY, La. – May 10, 2024 – The Northwest Louisiana Chapter of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) marked a significant milestone on May 10 as the first graduates of the program walked across the stage at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) to receive their diplomas. These graduates, equipped with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Industrial Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance, are now armed with marketable credentials and two years of relevant work experience, positioning them as highly competitive candidates in the job market.

Established in May 2022 by a consortium of area manufacturers, BPCC, and the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), the Northwest Louisiana Chapter of FAME was born out of the critical need for skilled maintenance technicians faced by the region’s manufacturing and industrial employers. With seasoned employees retiring and machine technology advancing rapidly, the demand for skilled workers has never been more urgent.

The FAME program, originally created by Toyota over a decade ago, trains multiskilled maintenance technicians for US-based plants. Seven manufacturing companies in Northwest Louisiana – including Arq, Inc., Benteler Steel/Tube, Frymaster, Maxim Watermakers, Music Mountain Water, Prolec GE, and Ternium USA – recognized the program’s potential to address their workforce needs and became sponsors of the local FAME chapter.

Dustin Niemoeller, Plant Manager of BENTELER Steel/Tube – Shreveport, expressed his satisfaction with the growth of the local FAME chapter and highlighted its importance in addressing the workforce challenges faced by his company. “The FAME program is an excellent way for us to help students earn an associate degree while gaining valuable work experience,” Niemoeller said. “Students who graduate with their degree and certificates are almost guaranteed to find well-paying maintenance technician positions in the area.”

In addition to the three FAME participants who graduated on May 10, the seven current FAME students in the 2023 class cohort received Career and Technical Certificates – Industrial Technician, signifying their completion of certain technical training courses.

Looking ahead, the Northwest Louisiana FAME chapter is in the process of selecting its 2024 class cohort and has seen a 27% increase in applications received this recruitment season. Angie White, COO of NLEP, emphasized the importance of equipping students with marketable skills through programs like FAME. “NLEP is a strong advocate for high school technical education, dual enrollment opportunities, and work-study programs like FAME,” White said.

Recruitment for the 2025 class cohort will begin in fall 2024. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit www.NWLAFAME.org.

About North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP)
NLEP provides professional economic development services to an 11-parish region of North Louisiana, aiming to be a catalyst and connector advancing economic growth in the region. Visit nlep.org for more information.

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