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KCTCS preparing students for high-demand jobs in manufacturing

Versailles, Ky. —October is Manufacturing Month, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System is proud to train thousands of Kentuckians for manufacturing jobs.

In fact, KCTCS is the primary provider of manufacturing training in Kentucky. KCTCS has more than 400 advanced manufacturing partners statewide.

The 16 colleges align their programs with local business needs, which prepares KCTCS students to walk out of college and into a good-paying career.

The system also has more than 200 business partners who offer work and learn experiences through the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME.)

KY FAME is a partnership of regional manufacturers whose purpose is to implement apprenticeship-style educational programs that create a pipeline of highly skilled workers. Students in the program attend a KCTCS college two days a week and work for their sponsoring employer three days a week.

Students are paid for their work and potentially graduate with no debt.

Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC) graduate Landon Garrison took advantage of the college’s partnership with Stober Drives.

There was no KY FAME program at that time, but Garrison went through an apprenticeship program while at MCTC and has been with Stober Drives for 15 years. He now works with KY FAME students from MCTC.

“I feel like the partnership between MCTC and Stober has been phenomenal,” he said. “KY FAME is an excellent program and an extension of the apprenticeship program. KY FAME students turned out to be excellent employees. The training was top notch.”

Three KCTCS colleges recently received Essential Employability Qualities (EEQ) certification for their FAME programs through a pilot process with QA Commons.

The certification validates the strength of the programs at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Gateway Community and Technical College, and Jefferson Community and Technical College. Colleges had to prove that learners apply and are assessed for eight essential behavioral qualities within a work-based context.

The programs must also show that employers have a significant influence on curriculum design. One of the essential behavioral qualities that employers look for is soft skills.

“The process requires academic programs to provide evidence of soft skills training,” Patrick Rickert, FAME apprenticeship coordinator at Gateway Community and Technical College said. “The EEQ certification proves to employers that students are acquiring professional and interpersonal skills, which are critically important in employment.”

KCTCS also maintains a partnership with the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM), which has served as the leading advocate for manufacturers for the last 100 years. According to KAM, more than 250,000 people are employed by Kentucky manufacturers and there are 4,500 manufacturing facilities in the state.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the Commonwealth’s largest postsecondary institution with 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses.