Northwest Louisiana FAME Chapter Celebrates First Graduating Class

On May 10, the first graduates of the Northwest Louisiana Chapter of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) walked across the stage at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) and received their diplomas. In addition to earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Industrial Engineering Technology, Industrial Maintenance concentration, they were awarded a certificate of completion from FAME USA. These are marketable credentials, and the graduates also have two years of relevant work experience to go along with them, making them highly competitive in the job market.

The Northwest Louisiana Chapter of FAME was created in May 2022 by a group of area manufacturers, BPCC and the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) to meet a critical need for skilled maintenance technicians faced by most manufacturing and industrial employers. These companies are seeing employees with decades of experience begin to retire at the same time that machine technology is advancing rapidly.

The FAME program was created by Toyota over a decade ago to train multiskilled, global best maintenance technicians for their US-based plants. The seven manufacturing companies that sponsor the Northwest Louisiana FAME chapter found it to be a good fit for their needs. Those companies include Arq, Inc., Benteler Steel/Tube, Frymaster, Maxim Watermakers, Music Mountain
Water, Prolec GE and Ternium USA.

“I am very pleased with the growth of our local FAME chapter,” said Dustin Niemoeller, Plant
Manager of BENTELER Steel/Tube – Shreveport. “I attended the 2022 meeting when the FAME
program was originally presented to local manufacturing companies, and BENTELER committed to
being a member of the local FAME chapter before leaving the meeting. We had a tight timeline to
implement the first cohort and we made it happen. At the time, BENTELER was already
experiencing the challenge of finding and hiring qualified maintenance technicians, and we knew
this program was necessary both for the here and now and for our future growth plans. From my
perspective, the FAME program is an excellent way for us to help students earn an associate degree
while gaining valuable work experience. Students who are able to graduate with their degree and certificates are almost guaranteed to find a well-paying maintenance technician position in the

In addition to the three FAME participants that graduated on May 10, the seven current FAME
students in the 2023 class cohort received Career and Technical Certificates – Industrial
Technician, demonstrating their completion of certain technical training courses.
The Northwest Louisiana FAME chapter is in process of selecting its 2024 class cohort and saw a
27% increase in applications received this recruitment season and a significant improvement in
applicant qualifications, based on high school transcripts, ACT scores and technical training taken
during high school.

“When I speak to high school students during FAME recruitment events and North Louisiana
Manufacturing Month tours, more often now I hear students telling me they are ready to go to work
when they graduate,” said Angie White, COO of NLEP. “And I applaud them for that focus, but I want
to make sure they are armed with marketable skills that can qualify them for quality jobs with
growth potential. This is why NLEP is such a strong advocate for high school technical education
and dual enrollment opportunities, and work-study programs like FAME.”

Recruitment for the 2025 class cohort will begin in fall 2024. To learn more about the program and
to apply, visit