A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKY FAME graduates, recognizes, first class of apprentices, at National AMT Conference in Florence

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By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The Northern Kentucky chapter of the Federation of American Manufacturing Education (NKY FAME) graduated its first class of apprentices this month.

Mark Simendinger, general manager of Kentucky Speedway, was Keynote Speaker at the NKY FAME graduation ceremony. He told the FAME employers in attendance that they may not yet fully recognize the impact their efforts have had on quality of life in the region (photos by Mark Hansel).

NKY FAME hosted the 21 graduates for a commencement dinner on Monday, May 15, at the Hilton Cincinnati Airport Hotel.

Dennis Dio Parker, co-founder of KY FAME and Assistant Manager, Toyota North American Production Support Center, credits employers with recognizing the need for qualified workers and taking the initiative to develop them.

“FAME is special because it is led by manufacturers who work together to elevate the skill and talent needed in advanced manufacturing,” Parker said. “Seeing our first class of NKY apprentices graduate with employment opportunities is a testament of how dedicated local employers are to making that happen.”

NKY FAME is a chapter of Kentucky FAME, a company-sponsored partnership of regional employers who share the goal of creating a pipeline of highly skilled workers.

“A lot of times, making investments is thought of as buying equipment, but not this,” said Drew Ferris, Apprenticeship Manager at Mubea North America and NKY FAME Vice President. “KY FAME is about people. If you want to grow, you have to grow your people.”

Mark Simendinger, General Manager of the Kentucky Speedway, was keynote speaker at the event.

Simendinger said he has seen firsthand the impact that the NKY FAME companies have had on business, and life, in Northern Kentucky.

The NKY FAME AMT apprentice graduates and their affiliated companies (click to enlarge).

“You never really understand the impact you may have on somebody else,” Simendinger said. “To these companies that started this Kentucky FAME chapter, I’m not sure that you realize what you all have done for this community. As pioneers, if you come in and you fail, we wouldn’t have the successful business climate that we have here in Northern Kentucky. By your success, you have brought in other companies.”

Wade Williams, secretary/treasurer of NKY FAME and Senior Vice President of Business Development for Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, said it is very rewarding to see the pipeline of qualified workers begin to develop.

“We convened a group of manufacturers at Bosch and started down this road two-and-a half years ago,” Williams said. “Now we get to see this first graduating class really changing the landscape of manufacturing in Northern Kentucky. We got to know a lot of these kids along the way and they are just fantastic individuals”

The celebration of NKY FAME’s first graduating class is timely, as it is host of the annual Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways conference this week, drawing 225 attendees from participating FAME chapters from 11 states. Most attendees are from employers such as Toyota, Mubea, Bosch, Safran Landing Systems, L’Oréal, and Krauss Maffei, and 80 attendees are AMT apprentices.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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