Brittany Bolen selected as 2024 Distinguished Graduate

The Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) Cumberlands Chapter graduated its eighth class Thursday evening, celebrating 21 students who have earned their degrees while working for a regional sponsoring manufacturer.

Many of these students will gain full-time employment with their sponsors, who partner with KY FAME to create a pipeline of highly skilled workers through a dual-track, apprenticeship-style program. Locally, the Cumberlands Chapter includes Somerset Community College (SCC) and nearly 20 employers with the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) serving as the chapter’s hub.

Students learn about electricity, fluid power, mechanics, fabrication, and robotics in the classroom and through on-the-job training. At the end of the five-semester program, they earn an associate degree in applied science in industrial maintenance technology, certification as an advanced manufacturing technician, and two years of work experience — ready to enter the workforce full-time with the skills needed to succeed.

Brittany Bolen receives the 2024 Distinguished Graduate award from KY FAME President Michael Morgan.

Of the students graduating Thursday, Brittany Bolen was recognized as the 2024 Distinguished Graduate for her outstanding professional behavior, manufacturing core exercises, work performance, leadership and grade-point average. Bolen has been hired full-time by her sponsor employer, UGN.

“The Cumberlands Chapter is very proud of this graduating class and grateful to SCC and our employer sponsors for giving these students such a rewarding learning experience,” said Michael Morgan, chapter president and manager of general affairs for TTAI. “They truly have become global-best, multi-skilled maintenance technicians. Their stories are just getting started and we wish them nothing but the best.”

83rd District State Rep. Josh Branscum shared some words of wisdom during the ceremony that have followed him through his career as a student, an athlete, and now as president of Branscum Construction and legislator: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail.” 

Branscum challenged the graduates to lead boldly and charge into this new stage of life and employment with hard work and determination. 

“Don’t get to the game and say, ‘I wish I would’ve,’” Branscum said.

SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler applauded the educators, employers and KY FAME board for their impact on the regional workforce through this program.

“I have said it many times, Kentucky FAME is the best-kept secret in the Commonwealth,” Girdler said. “SPEDA is honored to serve as the hub for this organization because of the masterful way it combines education and on-the-job training and establishes strong regional partnerships to build and strengthen our workforce. I am grateful for the investment of so many to make this day possible, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for these students.”

The 2024 KY FAME Cumberlands Chapter graduating class.

The following students graduated from KY FAME and will receive their associate’s degrees in May:

Arlin Moore – TTAI

William Smith – ABC Technologies

Hannah Wilson – MEGGITT

Matthew Carpenter – TTAI

Ethan Lane – TTAI

Dylan Sisson – Silent Guard

Jacob Pittman – KYFAME

Brittany Bolen – UGN

Grant Hall – East KY Power Cooperative

Paul Deaton – KYFAME (these do not have a sponsor company)

Lucas McGinnis – KYFAME

Logan Paul – Firestone

William Turner – CIRCOR

Avery Jones – Highlands

Jonathan Day – Baxters NA

Dakota Baird – Chism Automation

Ryan Rose – Jones Plastic & Engineering

Travis Vandy – Baxters

Lloyd Cochran – Bosch Growers

Matthew Loy – Duraflame

Isaac McClendon – UGN