Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) recently received a grant that will help support a new work experience program.
The program, Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), was originated in Kentucky and has been used by Toyota in Alabama since 2014 to recruit and train advanced manufacturing technicians. Other companies, including Snap-on, Georgia Pacific, GE Appliances, and Brown Precision are FAME sponsor companies in Alabama.
Students accepted in this highly competitive program are hired by local companies to work three days a week while going to college two days a week. This five-semester program culminates in the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree and includes specific focus on five Manufacturing Core Exercises (MCE): Safety Culture, Visual Workplace Organization/5S, Lean Manufacturing, Problem Solving, and Machine Reliability. NACC plans to start its program in fall 2020 but is working with companies now to identify how many students are needed by local employers.
Students in the NACC program will pursue an AAS degree in Mechatronics. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on both electrical and mechanical systems, including automation controls and robotics.
This $200,000 grant from the Alabama Community College System will allow the college to purchase a mechatronics training cell. This cell brings together all the components of the training program in one scaled-down version of an automated assembly line. Students learn to integrate and troubleshoot electrical, electronics, fluid power, mechanical power, pneumatics, programmable logic controllers, and robotics in a real-world application. The cell is built so that instructors can introduce faults which must be diagnosed and corrected by students.
“Dr. Mike Kennamer and our staff have done a great job working with the Alabama Community College System to secure this grant,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. “Students obtaining work experience in career tech programs is a national trend and we are very pleased to be on the cutting edge of this workforce training movement.”
In 2013, in an effort to assure that students in Workforce Development programs graduate with real world experience, the college started requiring a minimum of one semester of cooperative education during the student’s last semester. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor approved the college and a consortium of local companies to offer the Registered Apprenticeship program.
Dr. Mike Kennamer, Dean of Workforce Development and Skills Training at NACC applied for the grant and has been working with instructors and staff to get the FAME program established.
“The FAME program is an excellent opportunity for companies of any size to grow their own talent base,” noted Kennamer. “By sponsoring a student in the FAME program, the company can build a rapport and a history with the student, who could end up being an excellent employee for the company”.
Kerry Wright, Work Experience Coordinator at NACC, is the primary contact for companies who wish to sponsor a FAME student and for students who wish to be considered for the program. “The FAME program creates another opportunity for students to connect with industry for specialized related training and potential long-term employment,” said Wright, who coordinates work experience programs including FAME and Registered Apprenticeship for the college. Contact Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001, ext. 2217.
For more information about this grant, contact Dr. Mike Kennamer, NACC Dean of Workforce Development, at email@example.com or call 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001, ext. 2291.
Northeast Alabama Community College is a comprehensive community college that is consistently recognized as one of the top in the nation. Browse the college’s website at www.nacc.edu to learn about all the college offers. Download the App at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Follow NACC on social media. Spring semester registration is going on now. Classes will begin Tuesday, January 7.