Manufacturing apprenticeship program to launch in fall

Millie McGrail with Maxim Watermakers pens her name as part of the NWLA FAME Chapter signing. (Photos by Amanda Crane, BPCC)

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he NWLA FAME chapter is made up of six local manufacturers, Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) and NLEP.

Paul Spivey, Assistant Dean of Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, says “The new FAME program seamlessly combines hands-on education at BPCC with on-sight training at local manufacturing partners’ facilities. This coordinated combination leads to enhanced learning opportunities for BPCC students and provides a defined career path in a high-demand area.”

Manufacturing partners in the chapter represent a variety of industries and include Benteler Steel/Tube, Frymaster, Maxim Watermakers, Music Mountain Water, Prolec GE, and Ternium USA.

Those enrolled in the NWLA FAME Program will undertake a work/study program to earn an associate degree and certification as an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT). NWLA FAME students will attend classes at BPCC two days a week and will work at least 24 hours a week for one of the sponsoring employers while earning a competitive wage.

“One of the greatest challenges for a us is finding local talent with a maintenance and repair background to meet the needs of our manufacturing site,” said Douglas Bridges, Facilities Manager at Prolec GE. “Without a fresh pool of technicians, manufacturers in this area may not be able to function in the long run. Maintenance Technicians are key players in the manufacturing process; they keep the equipment operating.”

Applicants may be recent high school graduates or those who have been in the workforce and are seeking a career change. No prior manufacturing experience is necessary to apply. Financial aid options to cover the cost of the training may be available. To apply for the program, visit www.ApplyToFAME.com, or visit the Open House June 1 to learn more about the program and participating employers.

“We hear from our regional manufacturers on a regular basis that they need more skilled workers, in particular maintenance technicians,” said NLEP CEO Justyn Dixon. “After hearing first-hand from employers that have participated in FAME chapters elsewhere about the high value they place on the program, we felt compelled to help develop a chapter here in Northwest Louisiana to support this sector that is so critical for our regional economy’s growth.”

The FAME model was developed by Toyota in 2010 and has since grown into a stand-alone program of The Manufacturing Institute, which supports 32 chapters around the country. 

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