A program to address the shortage of skilled workers for advanced manufacturing is expanding in the Owensboro area.
The project is called GO FAME, which stands for Greater Owensboro Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education.
It’s a collaboration among regional businesses and Owensboro Community and Technical College. Students are trained as advanced manufacturing technicians in an 18-month apprenticeship program.
William Mounts, president of GO FAME and vice president of Omico Plastics in Owensboro, says companies are doing their part to improve the future workforce by investing in the students.
“We pay them a minimum of $12 an hour and we pay a minimum of half their tuition. Some organizations pay full tuition. Some organizations, like mine, we pay half the tuition plus books. We would have paid full tuition for one student, but we wanted to take two.”
GO FAME launched in March 2015 with 12 businesses and 15 students. It’s expanded to 22 businesses training 35 students.
Mounts says each manufacturer in the program provides a mentor for each student.
"They’re not just coming into an organization and saying, 'Well here’s a machine, figure it out.' No, they have somebody that’s been with those organizations for years that can teach them basically all their knowledge that they have. My mentor here at Omico Plastics has been with us for 27 years. So he’s giving out 27 years of experience at our organization to these two students.”
The students go to school two days a week and work at the company three days a week.