JWCC, GREDF and regional manufacturing companies create Illinois’ first FAME chapter

Published: Jan. 12, 2024 at 6:38 AM CST|Updated: 3 hours ago

QUINCY (WGEM) – John Wood Community College, The Great River Economic Development Foundation and five regional manufacturing companies launched the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) today at John Wood’s Workforce Development Center.

This is Illinois’ first FAME chapter. JWCC’s President Bryan Renfro said the work-study program is intended to recruit, educate and train individuals into the manufacturing profession.

The FAME program at JWCC is intended to boost advanced manufacturing training in the area.

Students will attend JWCC two days a week and will work three days a week at one of the sponsored manufacturing companies.

“The unique thing about this program is students are employees while they go to college,” said Renfro.

Before working with an employer, the students will get several different manufacturing training.

“Using different types of training simulators ranging from ranging from electrical, mechanical, hydraulics, pneumatics even HVAC,” Renfro said.

Once they get done with the simulators, students will be sponsored by a manufacturing company and will get to use what they have learned in real life.

“They’re going to come here and learn how to work on the equipment learn how to do things that need to be done and they’re going to be working with tradesmen at the facility,” said Knapheide Maintenance and Facility Manager Chuck Makins.

When students are finished they can get right into the workforce with the company they trained with.

“It’s going to run around five semesters for the students, and I believe it’s about 80 hours worth of time at school,” Makins said.

All of the skills they learn in the program will help them advance quickly in their careers.

“Gives them the skills that they need to be promoted rather rapidly through the workforce environment,” Renfro said.

Dot Foods, General Mills, Titan Wheel, Gardner Denver (Ingersoll Rand), and Knapheide are the companies that will sponsor students for the program.

Renfro said they’re expecting to recruit between 15 to 18 students.

He said the college will spend the next few months reviewing applicants.

They expect students to start working with one of the sponsored companies in June or July and students will start classes for the program in August.

To apply or read more information on the program, click here.

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