2018 Runner Up: Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education: Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Development

Dynamic Employer-Owned Training Program Combines Technical Training and Professional Education

The manufacturing industry in the U.S. is suffering from a severe lack of skilled workers. It is anticipated that by 2025, there will be 2 million unfilled skilled openings; the largest gap in any job sector. In addition to a skills gap, the manufacturing industry faces a public relations obstacle: though Americans consider manufacturing important to the economy, they do not consider it as a desirable career path for themselves or their children.

So, the manufacturing industry is pining for new, skilled workers, but the general public is not interested in entering the manufacturing industry. These facts contribute to the decreasing competitiveness of American manufacturing firms with international firms, particularly European ones, which have successful apprenticeship programs.

The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) is working to alleviate concerns of manufacturing executives through the development of its Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Program (AMCP). AMCP introduces students to three potential pathways (Technician, Business, or Engineer) over the course of 5 semesters that incorporates both job training and coursework to educate students on technical aspects of manufacturing jobs and business and professional practices as well.

FAME is unique because it is owned by employers. Employers design and curate coursework to fit their needs, so that students graduate completely trained and prepared for their careers. FAME companies also promote STEM at earlier stages of education with local schools and extra-curricular programs.

FAME students work – and earn wages – for three days a week and attend classes at a local community college or university two days a week. The AMT (Advanced Manufacturing Technician) program, which is the basis for all three career pathways, has graduation rates between 70 and 90 percent. Also, 90 percent of graduates are employed full-time by their original sponsoring employer. Lastly, and most impressively, more than 90 percent of FAME graduates complete the program debt-free.

The non-profit initiative would like to become a national organization that can better coordinate the cultivation of manufacturing workers across the country and extend STEM educational programs down into elementary levels of learning to promote interest in STEM industries in younger children.

Pioneer Institute congratulates Dennis Dio Parker, developer of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, on his winning submission.

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