HOPKINSVILLE, KY. (Nov. 12, 2020) Opportunity America and the Brookings Institution have released a new report on the success of Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KYFAME), showing just how well the program is working and sharing outcomes for its graduates.   

KYFAME (pronounced Kentucky Fame) is a partnership of manufacturers whose purpose is to implement apprentice-style training to create a pipeline of highly-skilled employees. The earn-and-learn program is broken into regional chapters which partner with colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) to work with local companies to prepare students for advanced manufacturing careers. 

Hopkinsville Community College’s HOPFAME (pronounced Hop Fame) is the local chapter of KYFAME. The program is a 5-semester college degree program in Industrial Maintenance Technology that matches higher education with continuous real-world experience. 

Working with KCTCS, Kentucky Center for Statistics, Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education and program graduates, Opportunity America and Brookings reported the following based on data from 2010-11 through 2016-17: 

  • KYFAME graduates have a higher completion rate than those not in the program. Roughly 80 percent completed KYFAME. Higher completion rates were seen no matter what race or gender the student was. 
  • KYFAME graduates have higher earnings. The one, three and five-year earnings show a significant difference for KYFAME graduates vs. non-FAME graduates. Five years into their careers, FAME graduates are earning nearly $100,000, which is $45,000 more than the non-FAME graduates. 
  • 94 percent of graduates said on-the-job training was the most important part of the program. 
  • 87 percent said the combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training was most important. 

The full report can be viewed at https://opportunityamericaonline.org/kyfame/

According to HCC Community, Workforce & Economic Development Chief Carol Kirves, since HOPFAME formed in 2016, 56 local students have enrolled in the program, with 26 of those graduating with an associate in applied science degree (AAS) and 18 currently continuing their coursework.   HOPFAME has achieved a 79 percent retention rate overall with an 88 percent retention rate for current students. “These students are gaining valuable skills both in the classroom and on the floors of our local manufacturers.  This hands-on instruction coupled with professional skills and core manufacturing training helps to set them apart from other students.  They are making great contacts within the industrial community and getting a great head start on their career paths by participating in the HOPFAME program,” Kirves explained.  

HOPFAME students attend class two days a week at HCC and apply what they’ve learned three days a week at their job site. The sponsoring company pays students for their work and in most cases the company covers the cost of tuition as well. Many program graduates are hired by sponsoring companies. Most students graduate with 2,000 hours of work experience for the two-year program. 

According to the Opportunity America/Brookings report: “The message for employers, educators and policymakers: earn-and-learn training works, and the nation should redouble its efforts to take the model to scale. Among the main reasons it is successful: on-the-job experience gives meaning to classroom instruction and helps students get jobs after graduation.” 

HCC’s HOPFAME program is always looking for additional manufacturing partners. For information on how to be a HOPFAME partner, company representatives can contact HCC’s Workforce Solutions department at (270) 707-3750. 

Students must apply with the sponsoring company and there are no age restrictions for the program. Applications are currently being accepted through April 1, 2021 for those interested in being the program during the fall 2021 semester. Program spots are limited.