Friday, June 21, 2024

Manufacturing education group welcomes new technician class

by BIZ Magazine

The Northwest Louisiana chapter of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (NWLA FAME) hosted a signing ceremony May 24 for the incoming class of Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) candidates at Bossier Parish Community College. 

The NWLA FAME chapter membership is made up of eight manufacturers, Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) as the training partner, and the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP). During the signing ceremony, company representatives officially announced the AMTs they will sponsor for the two-year work-study program.

Manufacturing partners in the chapter represent a variety of manufacturing sectors and include ADA Carbon Solutions, Benteler Steel/Tube, Frymaster, International Paper (Mansfield facility), 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 AMT students will attend classes at BPCC two days a week and will work 24 paid hours a week for their sponsoring employers.

“One of the greatest challenges for 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 and Chair for the NWLA FAME chapter. “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.”

The incoming class of AMTs is comprised of a mix of 2023 high school graduates and adults who have been in the workforce and are looking for a career change. No prior manufacturing experience is necessary to apply. The program application is open year-round, but the next class of AMTs will be selected in Spring 2024. To apply for the program, visit www.NWLAFAME.org.

“Now that our chapter is in its second year, we had enough time and focus to target our recruitment efforts on those high school seniors who were in technical training programs, particularly with a science, technology, engineering, or math focus,” said NLEP COO Angie White. “Skilled maintenance technicians must be good problem solvers and critical thinkers, and they need a solid understanding of math concepts.”

The FAME model was developed by Toyota in 2010 and has since grown into a stand-alone program of The Manufacturing Institute, which supports thirty-four chapters around the country. The first Louisiana chapter, GeauxFAME, started in Natchitoches and launched its first cohort of students in 2017. To learn more about the FAME model, visit https://fame-usa.com/.

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