A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KY FAME class of 2018 graduates 22; sponsors and Gateway CTC work together to develop workforce

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The 2018 graduates from the KY FAME Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program were recognized recently in a ceremony at Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Florence.

With three years of work and school in the rear view mirror. 2018 KY FAME grads got to have a little fun in the graduation ceremony at Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Florence (photos by Mark Hansel).

An indoor kart race track is not a traditional venue for a graduation, but Kentucky FAME (Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) is not a typical program.

Manufacturers sponsor the students, who work and go to school for three years to earn credits toward certification and a degree.

“We wanted something that was a little more informal that would get everybody kind of excited to come in and enjoy the night and kind of celebrate their accomplishments,” Catherine Olson of Bosch, a member of the graduation committee, said. “Their day-to-day is pretty serious being at school and at work, so this gives them some time to shake off the seriousness and have a good time.”

Drew Farris of Mubea is the president of the Northern Kentucky Chapter of FAME. He congratulated the 22 graduates on reaching their goal.

“I’ve got to spend a lot of time with you and I’ve watched each one of you mature and grow,” Farris said. “The great thing about this program is that it’s not just school and books, it’s life lessons and growing and mentoring.”

NKY FAME president Drew Farris of Mubea addresses the 2018 graduates.

The FAME program has grown considerably throughout Kentucky and across the country and Farris said word of mouth from students has a lot to do with that.

“I’m going to count on a lot of you to improve the next group that’s coming in,” Farris said. “One of the great thing about FAME is bringing the next generation on board. Just because you are out of this now, it doesn’t mean you are off the hook, I expect you all to go out and recruit and promote the program.”

Pat Rickert, Gateway Community and Technical College Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor for the FAME apprenticeship program, talked about its goals.

“The purpose of FAME is to train multi-skilled maintenance technicians,” Rickert said. “They also take some general education courses so they will get a full associate of applied science degree.”

All of the graduates are employed by sponsors, including, Bosch Automotive Steering, Nucor Steel, Safran Landing Systems, Hahn Automation and Mubea.

2018 KY FAME graduates (click to enlarge).

“Some of them are already operating as multi-skilled maintenance technicians, some are in the program because they want a skilled group leader, or they want a skilled production supervisor,” Rickert said. “Not all of them will end up in skilled maintenance positions. Some of our graduates, actually will receive and some have already received, raises. Some of them are quite lucrative, in excess of $30 an hour and there is no debt associated with the program.”

The name recognition of the FAME program has also been boosted by its affiliation with NASCAR XFINITY driver Garrett Smithley. FAME provides sponsorship for Smithley’s car at some of the races on the circuit and the NASCAR driver is active at the organizations events throughout the country.

He will attend the FAME USA  convention in San Antonio this week and called in to congratulate the Kentucky graduates at their ceremony.

“I hate that I can’t be there tonight but…I just wanted to say congratulations to all of you guys, it’s a huge accomplishment,” Smithley said. “It has been an absolute blast and a pleasure representing FAME this year. We had FAME on the car in Texas and at Richmond and at Talladega, we have a few more races left this year and it’s been a great success.”

Smithley finished tenth at Talladega and was up front for part of the race, o racing fans across the country got to learn what the FAME program is all about

Farris said this year’s team of graduates, and their sponsors, bonded very well.

“It’s great to see how 22 companies can work so well together and have such a great class and a diverse class,” Farris said. “FAME is great about that, it gives the students a taste of all the other fields out there”

FAME is a valuable feeder program that also helps students and employers find the career path that best suits their talents.

“They are able to get these people in there and find out what they are good at,” Farris said. “They can see that they went through the FAME program and find out they excelled at electricity or machine tool technologies or in the maintenance field and they are able to place them in their organizations.”

Patty and Eddie Cozine say the KY FAME program has helped their son, Kenneth. learn valuable skills and grow as a person.

Patty and Eddie Cozine of Sparta say the FAME program has done more than just provide their son, Kenneth, a career opportunity. Patty says her son was shy growing up, and that began to change when he got involved in Future Farmers of America, but he really came out of his shell when he entered KY FAME.

“When he got in the FAME program, he just went wild with it,” she said.

Eddie Cozine said not having to pay for college also relieves a huge burden.

“We were willing to do whatever it took, if that’s what he chose, but he took it upon himself to get in the KY FAME program,” Cozine said.

Kenneth Cozine, who just turned 20, was sponsored by Nucor and plans to work there now.

Eddie Cozine owns his own mechanical maintenance business and is a contractor with North American Stainless. He gave Kenneth the opportunity to take over the business when he graduated high school.

“He turned it down and said ‘I want to go to school’ and you have to admire that,” Cozine said. “He wants to know what he’s doing before he gets into running a company. He enjoys what he’s doing, it’s a good atmosphere, and now I don’t look for him to ever take it over.”

For more information on the opportunities available through KY FAME, click here.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment