WCC leads as the only Michigan higher education institution educating and training students through the national Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education program
Washtenaw Community College, manufacturers and regional workforce development organizations have joined hands to meet industry talent needs through the national Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) work-and-learn apprenticeship program
WCC recently hosted a “Signing Day” event in which its inaugural cohort of 10 advanced manufacturing students in the new program signed with their employer partners to officially kick off the program with the new academic year.
Students are paired with a sponsoring company to complete a two year work-and-learn program, equipping students with the skills required for the rapidly evolving manufacturing industry and offers a debt-free path to an associate degree in under two years.
WCC is leading state of Michigan as the only higher education institution in FAME. Anchored by Toyota Motor North America, other employers are Novi Precision, Lomar Machine & Tool Company, Orbitform and Caster Concepts.
“I am most looking forward to the hands-on experience and learning while doing. Before, I knew about this program I was going to go for electrical engineering. This hasn’t changed my mind, but I could see it was a good opportunity,” said Jarel Reid, a recent Skyline High School (Ann Arbor) graduate who signed with Toyota, where he will be working in the Research & Development Division.
Reid plans to transfer to Michigan State to further his studies and envisions himself one day creating new products, potentially vehicles.
Reid was among five students who signed with Toyota.
Andrea Guzman, who recently graduated from Melvindale High School (Melvindale), is another new Toyota employee through the FAME program.
“I didn’t plan to go to college only because of the price of college, but now I can leave without debt. We get a job through FAME, and they’re paying you. I’m very excited with everything that is happening and the support I’m getting. It’s awesome,” said Guzman, who is placed at Toyota’s York facility in the R&D team, where she is learning about CAD
Samuel Kozle, a recent Hartland High School (Hartland) graduate who signed with machine manufacturer Novi Precision, said he is grateful for the opportunity.
“If I hadn’t heard about FAME I wouldn’t have too good a sense of direction about where I was going after high school,” Kozle said, adding that he may not have directly gone to college due to the cost of higher education.
“I didn’t want to get into debt without having a clear path of what I wanted to do, but FAME offers a clear set path into a career and is a great opportunity. This aligns with my prior work knowledge both mentally and with the hands-on aspect,” Kozle said.
The program offers apprenticeships and educational pathways to an associate degree from WCC and on-the-job training and mentoring through industry partners.
Participants in the FAME program can be recent high school graduates, military members transitioning to the workforce, or individuals looking to move into a new career path. The FAME program is designed to give students hands-on experience while also providing formal education credentials. The program focuses on professional presence and lean manufacturing acumen, as well as formal technical capabilities.
“After years of planning, we are excited to see the FAME program become a reality. We’re making good on our commitment to students, to educate and train them for high-demand jobs, and to the community to turn out a highly-skilled workforce. This is a win-win for everyone involved, and we’re thankful for the support of many partners to bring these dreams to life,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.
Funding to support the MI FAME Michigan Mitten chapter is provided by the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) as part of a $5.8 million Apprenticeship Building America grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Employment and Training Administration.
“Obtaining the Apprenticeship Building America Grant marks a momentous achievement for Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN), which allows Washtenaw Community College and five other WIN Board community college partners to build and grow apprenticeships in the region. The establishment of Michigan’s inaugural FAME Chapter, the Mitten Chapter, through this grant is met with great enthusiasm. This significant milestone will greatly contribute to the advancement of an apprenticeship ecosystem in the traditional manufacturing sector and non-traditional sectors such as healthcare, winemaking, and early childhood,” said Michele Economou Ureste, WIN Executive Director.
Ann Arbor SPARK will help administer the program and help recruit both employers and students.
“Through the FAME program, we are igniting a powerful synergy between education and industry, cultivating a skilled workforce that not only drives the growth of our region’s advanced manufacturing sector but also sets a precedent for collaboration and innovation,” said Paul Krutko, President and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “This initiative exemplifies the transformative impact that occurs when employers, educators, and community leaders unite to shape the future, fostering economic prosperity and opportunity for generations to come.”
Michigan Works! Southeast is also supporting the FAME initiative in Michigan’s Mitten chapter.
Applications to join the Fall 2024 cohort may be submitted on the MI FAME Mitten Chapter website.
WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING
• “This is going to drive home what I want to learn, mechatronics and robotics. Ultimately, my goal is to become a robotics engineer. I want to create something new and be a part of it, too. At Toyota I’ll be helping with data collection and testing and giving it back to the engineers. I’ll also be doing drive train. I’m keeping my eyes open. I want to learn as much as I can and stay as long as I can.” – Darrius Johnson, recent Washtenaw Technical Middle College graduate, Ypsilanti, working at Toyota’s Ann Arbor research and development group.
• “I’m excited that I get to work three days a week and then be in school two days a week. At Lomar you’re in a job shop and regular factory. Buyers some in and we build our own machines, crimping machines, rack and pinion machines. I have discovered machining. I could be operating a new invention someday.” – Brandon Gordon, recent Blissfield High School (Blissfield) graduate working at Lomar Machine & Tool Company.
• “I came back to school last summer after 10 years because I was looking for a career change and for something more stable. I realized how much I enjoyed learning. This path started because I wanted to be an electrician, and then I heard about FAME.” – Andrew Denton, 32, Ypsilanti
About Washtenaw Community College
Washtenaw Community College (WCC), Ann Arbor, Michigan, educates students through a wide range of associate and certificate programs in areas such as health care, business, STEM and advanced transportation and mobility. WCC offers accelerated and online programs and is ranked the number one community college in Michigan by Intelligent.com and Schools.com. The college also works through community, business and union partnerships to develop highly specialized training programs to meet the region’s workforce talent needs.
The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) network is comprised of employer-led chapters sponsoring students through a work/learn model over five semesters in conjunction with a college partner. The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program, a FAME co-op, produces global-best, entry-level multiskilled maintenance technicians to excel in today’s advanced manufacturing environments. The FAME USA network is managed and supported by The Manufacturing Institute; learn more at FAME-USA.com.
For more information about Washtenaw Community College, visit www.wccnet.edu.