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Skilled to Work: FAME Program Expanding

WAAY 31's Will Robinson-Smith reports

Posted: Feb. 28, 2019 5:48 PM
Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 5:48 PM

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a program that allows alabama college students to get paid while learning the manufacturing industry ... is now expanding in our area. and other states are taking notice. in tonight's skilled to work, waay 31's will robinson-smith explains where the program is rolling out - and what may be in store for its future. normally, you'd expect to hear the roar of an engine as this bucket truck lifts and lowers. but this white box tucked in the corner allows this truck and other vehicles to operate key functions without idling and burning gas. it's the idea behind the cullman-based company, zerorpm. it's founder and ceo lance self was able to use what was then a new incubator space at wallace state community college to take the operation out of a garage. self the state of alabama invested in us with a grant, wallace state invested in us with that space, which gave us the ability to kind of perfect the technology and go out and start raising capital and launch the company. five years later, self is looking to give back to the school that helped him so much and happily jumped on board when school leaders said they wanted to introduce the program called fame, "the federation for advanced manufacturing education", to wallace state. self the younger we can get them and bring them into the company and start teaching them our ways and help them kind of integrate into workforce. that's good for them and it's also very good for us. jimmy hodges says zerorpm is just one of several businesses that will partner with wallace state in the fall. the dean of technologies tells waay 31 companies will take on anywhere between one and seven student advanced manufacturing technicians, or "amts". hodges the cool thing about the fame program is it's a two-year interview...they're not guaranteed a job when they finish the amt, however, the placement rate nationwide for graduates is around like 92 percent. and it's not just wallace state that's getting its own fame program. both northwest shoals community college and gadsden state community college are joining the national program as well. all three are currently accepting applications. jeff lynn is the vice chancellor of workforce development for the alabama community college system. he says because of industry demand, the state is looking at eventually expanding the fame program across alabama. lynn we need about 10 fame programs across the state of alabama to keep up with the demand. and those fame programs should have about 80 people in them, 80 students, so about four cohorts of 20. lynn told waay 31 he and others have seen great success from calhoun's program and are looking forward to the expansions in north alabama starting in the fall. other states are taking notice .... this week, a group from the daytona area came to decatur to explore bringing the first fame program to the sunshine state. crews so i think our next step is to understand what the schools provide and look at some of the business partners and whether they would be interested. we have a little ways to go, but we have strong interest from a couple people here. back at wallace state, future fame instructor keith tolbert says the unique learning opportunity for these students will be beneficial both for them as well as the companies they work for. tolbert getting to apply it on the job as you're learning it in the classroom, working hand- in-hand beside each other, school makes work easy, work will make school easy. reporting in hanceville, will robinson-smith, waay 31
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