In competitiveness studies for economic development projects, a strong workforce is always one of the leading factors for a project win. A talented workforce is also necessary when a company is evaluating expansion opportunities. Most importantly, it is essential to ensure ongoing operations remain stable and successful. Throughout Bay County and across Florida, there are strong workforce development partners who train individuals for different career paths. From skilled technical training schools to top tier universities, our institutions are training the needed workforce for companies. Specifically in Bay County, there are workforce partnerships with Florida State University-Panama City, Gulf Coast State College, Haney Technical Center and several others.
Through the collective efforts of multiple community partners including Trane Technologies, Gulf Coast State College, Bay EDA and CareerSource Gulf Coast among others, the Bay County FAME Chapter has been established. The Bay County FAME Chapter strives to ensure that the region’s industries can continue to recruit the talent needed to support their operations.
Starting in 2008, the first FAME Chapter was established by Toyota in Kentucky to support their manufacturing operations. Since then, chapters have grown to more than 30 locations throughout the U.S. The FAME program is a collaboration with existing industries in a community and the workforce partners within that community. The program recruits students who are transitioning between school and a career and pairs them with a sponsoring company to complete a two year apprenticeship program. During the program, students will receive formal classroom training two days per week and work onsite with their sponsoring company three days per week.
Students in the FAME program can be recent high school graduates, transitioning military members, 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 educational credentials. While FAME is designed to train individuals for the manufacturing sector, the program also has a formal component providing professional presence skills, overall manufacturing acumen and formal technical capabilities. In addition to the technical capabilities, the program teaches the necessary soft skills which are vital to a successful career. The initial cohort of students will be recruited throughout spring 2021 and will begin the FAME program in fall 2021.
The FAME program is a grassroots effort guided by the local industry of a community. For the Bay County FAME Chapter, founding companies include Trane, Berg Pipe, Merrick Industries, Eastern Shipbuilding, ACMT and several others. Over time, this program is designed to create a pipeline of broadly trained individuals who can transition to full-time employment upon graduation. For participating companies, this program will become a critical pipeline for attracting skilled talent into their advanced manufacturing operation.
ACMT, a global leader for aviation component manufacturing, recognized the importance of being a founding member in the Bay County Chapter. According to Michael Polo, president and CEO of ACMT, Inc., “Helping establish the Bay County FAME Chapter provides our organization the opportunity to work directly with students, which is a passion of our company. We can also develop and train the needed talented workforce to ensure success in our new operation in Florida. The FAME model is a win-win situation for the community and ACMT.”
To learn more about the FAME Program, visit https://fame-usa.com/.
Sponsored by: Enterprise Florida
This article was prepared by Bay Economic Development Alliance, which is solely responsible for its content.