Prince George, Virginia – May 20, 2021- A collaborative of manufacturers in the south central region of Virginia has formed the first FAME chapter in the state. The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and Richard Bland College of William & Mary (RBC) will facilitate the VA FAME – Central Virginia chapter.

FAME, the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, is managed and supported by the Manufacturing Institute, and serves over 400 companies and 34 chapters nationally. Students enrolled in this two-year work/study program will be paid while working part-time and earning a transferable associate degree. The program will provide training as an advanced manufacturing maintenance technician and almost 90% of graduates proceed to full-time employment with their sponsoring employer upon graduation.

Candidates for the Central Virginia FAME program should be career-oriented, academically prepared students seeking rewarding work who thrive within highly regimented, hands-on programs and are aiming to advance quickly in their career with manufacturers like Amsted Rail, AMPAC, Blueprint Automation, Civica, Coesia, EPT Connectors, Niagara Bottling, Phlow, and Sabra Dipping.

All participants must be college-ready high school graduates interested in pursuing a concentrated two-year, debt-free degree and looking to gain a practical set of valuable–and transferable–technical skills.

While CCAM and RBC are responsible for supporting the Central Virginia FAME Chapter, industry partners are leading it, with AMPAC’s Frank Mueller as chapter chair and Stephanie Rubeo from Sabra Dipping as Vice-Chair.

In addition to each company’s individual compensation to each trainee, GO Virginia is providing $613,000 over two years, and Prince George Country has already contributed $100,000 to Central Virginia FAME.

Wilson Flohr, CEO of GROW Capital Jobs Foundation said the VA FAME GO Virginia per capita grant aligns closely with GROW Capital Jobs Growth and Diversification Plan’s strategic priorities. “No issue is more important to the economic diversification, growth and competitiveness of Virginia than the quality of its workforce. In short, talent, its recruitment, retention, and development are the central concern of employers in every region of Virginia. It’s essential that the region incorporate and offer training programs to meet current and prospective business needs as well as attract and retain needed talent to attract business to our state. FAME will address critical needs in this effort.” he said.

GO Virginia previously awarded CCAM a planning study grant, conducted by The Riverlink Group. The study and surveys determined the region needed an industry-led approach within a stackable education model, with paid trainees. In summer 2020, CCAM finished a GO Virginia funded pilot in mechatronics/automation – the equipment of which will be used for Central VA FAME. Match funding for the automation pilot was provided by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, an institute of Manufacturing USA, sponsored by the Department of Defense.

This local, state and government funding, the strong regional industry demand, combined with RBC’s academic capabilities to offer a degree that is transferable to Virginia’s bachelor programs – such as Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University & Old Dominion University, and beyond – is proof that the right mixture of industry, academia and government can help nourish Central VA’s growing manufacturing sector.

To learn more and apply, visit; direct questions to  Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CentralVAFAME and on LinkedIn.

The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) network is comprised of employer-led chapters sponsoring students through a work/learn model over five semesters in conjunction with a college partner. The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program, a FAME co-op, produces global-best, entry-level multiskilled maintenance technicians to excel in today’s advanced manufacturing environments. The FAME USA network is managed and supported by The Manufacturing Institute; learn more at