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FAME Program Gives Students an Edge

October 21, 2020

A study published by the Brookings Institute in September 2020 validates the significant positive impact that the Manufacturing Institute’s FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) Career Pathway is having on developing the workforce of the future. FAME’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program is the first step in a progressive career pathway that leads high-achieving transfer students to Northwood University’s Advanced Manufacturing Business (AMB) program.

In “Kentucky FAME, Fulfilling the Promise of Apprenticeship,” a report by Opportunity America and Bookings Institution, researchers assessed outcomes for FAME students at the multiple FAME chapters in Kentucky and compared outcomes to similar non-FAME students with matched geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The findings revealed that FAME students were more likely to complete their program of study than non-FAME students, with a completion rate of 80 percent compared to non-FAME students who had a completion rate of 29 percent. They also discovered that the median earnings for students in the first year after completion was $59,164, compared with $36,379 for non-FAME students, and even more impressive that the median wage difference after five years expanded to $98,000 for FAME graduates compared to $52,783 for non-FAME graduates.

The FAME Program is a work/study program where students earn an associate degree and certification as an advanced manufacturing technician (AMT). After graduating from AMT programs across the country, students can seamlessly continue their educational path by earning a bachelor’s degree in Applied Management or Lean Operations and Supply Chain Management through Northwood’s pathway.

“Northwood is excited to work with the Manufacturing Institute to offer the AMB a seamless pathway that allows FAME graduates across the country the flexibility to take their educational pursuits to the next level while working full-time so they can continue developing and utilizing technical skills learned through their FAME experience. FAME graduates are high achievers and we are very impressed with the quality of the students we serve from the FAME program,” said James Croan, Director of Northwood University Kentucky Operations and Corporate Relations. “While at Northwood, AMB students are immersed in learning business, operations, management, communications, critical thinking, and leadership skills to become the global best technicians and future leaders,” Croan added.

Employer engagement is the key to FAME’s success with educators developing programs to meet the needs of the future workforce. Northwood recognizes their role in supporting employers with their long-term partnerships with employers like Toyota Motor Manufacturing, GE Appliances, and Ford Motor Company.

Caleb Cowan, a FAME and Northwood graduate, believes the program was transformational for his career. “Northwood University’s exceptional staff and class content have been transforming my thinking as a professional in the work field,” Cowan said. “The program truly puts you at an advantage providing an enriching educational experience while getting real on-the-job training.” Cowan works at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. Caleb recently graduated from Northwood with his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Management, has already been promoted to a team leader, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Business Analytics at Northwood University. 

“One of the major strengths of the FAME model is the focus on a career pathway, both before and after the AMT program. Having a trusted partner like Northwood to shepherd AMT graduates easily into – and importantly, through — a bachelor’s degree program in a related field, like operations supply chain management, is a tremendous boon to the FAME USA employer network,” said Tony Davis, senior director of Workforce Initiatives at The Manufacturing Institute, the organization leading the FAME Career Pathway. “Our employers now have access to a global-best skills training program that can also blend right into a related and value-added undergraduate program to increase their talent pool while simultaneously enhancing future opportunities for these graduates.”

To learn more about the Northwood University Advanced Manufacturing Business program, go to

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