Employers to Invest in National Work/Learn Program to Build Global-Best Multi-Skilled Technicians

John Wood Community College (JWCC), the Great River Economic Development Foundation (GREDF), DOT Foods, Gardner Denver (Ingersoll Rand) , General Mills, The Knapheide Manufacturing Company, and Titan Wheel launched Illinois’ first Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) chapter today.

The Great River FAME chapter designation signals the investment of the region’s top manufacturers in premier workforce training to build more highly skilled, globally competitive, and sought after talent to meet the challenges of today’s modern manufacturing workforce. Every year, FAME graduates nationwide transition into well-paying, diverse careers in critical disciplines across the manufacturing industry.

Founding members of the Great River FAME chapter held the first board meeting today at JWCC’s Workforce Development Center. Each company has committed to sponsor selected students to enroll in a work-study program to earn an Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) credential. Students will attend JWCC two days a week and work three days a week for one of the five sponsoring employers.

A competitive recruitment and selection process will take place this spring and the first cohort of students will begin in the Fall of 2024. Details and application materials can be found at www.greatriverFAME.org or by contacting Kayla Wentz at kwentz@jwcc.edu or 217.641.4957.

FAME was created by Toyota and moved to the Manufacturing Institute for national scaling in 2019. Today, the Manufacturing Institute, as the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, is proud to manage FAME USA as it continues to grow across the country with the support of more than 400 manufacturers.

JWCC President Bryan Renfro shared, “Manufacturing, Transportation, and Distribution is a crucial sector of our regional economy and the investment these companies are making in the workforce is visionary and necessary for the tri-states to compete in the global marketplace. This national model has proven to be successful and the collaborative efforts of JWCC, GREDF, and the founding corporate partners ensure it will be in our region too!”

Great River FAME chair Chuck Makins commented on the community and corporate partnership’s impact.  Makins serves as the facilities and maintenance manager for The Knapheide Manufacturing Company based in Quincy, Illinois.

“All of the employers here today have made an incredible investment in not just their workforce, but the future workforce of our Tri-State region,” Makins said. “Manufacturing is a key sector of our area’s economy and the training provided through FAME will lead great careers in the industry.  It’s an incredible opportunity for those who will be selected, and we look forward to seeing the impact this first cohort of students will have for all of our Great River FAME partners.”